DIVORCE MEDIATION WITH AND WITHOUT LEGAL REPRESENTATION: A FOCUS ON INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE AND ABUSE

Authors


BECK@U.ARIZONA.EDU; mwalsh@email.arizona.edu; rhballar@indiana.edu; holtzwor@indiana.edu; aga@indiana.edu; johnwputz@gmail.com

Abstract

A large number of litigants in family court are proceeding without legal representation and placing a significant burden on court personnel and judges. It is unclear whether this trend toward self-representation is also true for litigants in family mediation and whether these clients also place a significant burden on mediation programs. Given concerns about mediating with violent couples, another important question is whether the type of representation differs between nonviolent couples and couples experiencing intimate partner violence and/or abuse. This article is an exploratory study of litigants in mediation in Arizona and Indiana, two very different jurisdictions. We provide descriptive statistics concerning the types of representation of clients entering mediation in these jurisdictions and the number of sessions attended by attorney-represented versus pro se clients. We also provide descriptive statistics concerning the levels and types of violence and/or abuse reported by pro se versus represented litigants. We then explore the relationship between representation, violence and abuse, and reaching agreement in mediation. Implications of the findings for mediation are considered.

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