When we hear the term family mediation, we usually think of the application of alternative dispute resolution techniques to divorce and child custody issues. Yet recent developments warrant expanding our concept of family mediation. Although not without controversy, the use of mediation in divorce and child custody conflicts has grown dramatically. However, mediation has also been used more widely in other disputes between family members – those between parents and children, between non-divorcing spouses, between squabbling heirs, and between caretakers of elderly parents, to name just a few. How is mediation applied in these kinds of cases? Are we being carried away with enthusiasm in applying the techniques of the mediation process or can these techniques be valuable to families throughout the family life cycle?
Before attempting to answer these and related questions, it may be useful to look at several examples of actual cases where mediation was used to re-solve non-divorce related issues between family members.
Evidence exists that mediation helps parents develop custody arrangements for their children with less hostility and trauma than traditional negotiation and litigation.
Mandatory arbitration for guestworkers, a uniquely vulnerable group, will result in class inequality and worse conditions for all workers.
The following articles present a sampling of the areas in which ADR is currently being used.
Voting rights advocates should explore section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act as a vehicle to combat voter intimidation.