Self-Represented Parties in Mediation: Fifty Years Later It Remains the Elephant in the Room




The past fifty years have borne witness to increases in parties representing themselves and mediating, rather than litigating, in divorce and other family law cases. In this article, we review changes in family law; discuss challenges for self-represented litigants and mediators working with them; review guidance developed by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) and the American Bar Association (ABA); and discuss state ethics opinions, guidelines, and rules. We conclude with our proposal and urge the AFCC and the ABA to draft Model Rules of Practice for Mediating with Self-Represented Parties to assist states in implementing appropriate rule changes.