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Resolving Family Conflicts: The Family, Law and Society
Ashgate Publishing, October 2008, Pages: 594
Over the past two decades, virtually all areas of family law have undergone major doctrinal and theoretical changes - from the definition of marriage, to the financial and parenting consequences of divorce, to the legal construction of parenthood. An equally important set of changes has transformed the resolution of family disputes. This 'paradigm shift' in family conflict resolution has reshaped the practice of family law and has fundamentally altered the way in which disputing families interact with the legal system. Moreover, the changes have important implications for the way that family law is understood and taught.
This volume examines the contours of this paradigm shift in family conflict resolution and explores its implications for family law scholarship and practice. The interdisciplinary compilation includes contributions from lawyers, legal academics, social scientists and mental health professionals. As the articles in the volume demonstrate, the transformation in family conflict resolution holds considerable promise for disputing families, but it also raises a number of challenges.
These challenges include concerns about the institutional competence of courts, the surrender of fact-finding and decision-making to individuals without legal training, the loss of autonomy and privacy for family members subject to continuing court oversight and the disjunction between problem-solving justice and authoritative legal norms. By exploring both the promise of the new paradigm and its potential pitfalls, this volume engages family law scholars and offers insights to judges, practitioners and policy makers responsible for serving families in conflict.
Part I Theoretical Foundations:
-In the best interests of children: a proposal to transform the adversarial system, Gregory Firestone and Janet Weinstein;
-An interdisciplinary approach to family law jurisprudence: application of an ecological and therapeutic perspective, Barbara A. Babb;
-Rights myopia in child welfare, Clare Huntington.
Part II Court Processes and Structure:
A: Historical Overview: The evolving judicial role in child custody disputes: from fault finder to conflict manager to differential case management, Andrew Schepard.
B: Problem-Solving Courts: Problem-solving courts: a brief primer, Greg Berman and John Feinblatt;
-Fixing families: the story of the Manhattan family treatment court, Robert Wolf.
C: Unified Family Courts: The failure of fragmentation: the promise of a system of unified family courts, Catherine J. Ross; -Unified family courts: tempering enthusiasm with caution, Anne H. Geraghty and Wallace J. Mlyniec.
D: Family Mediation:
1: Divorce and Child Access Mediation:
-Divorce mediation: research and reflections, Robert E. Emery, David Sbarra and Tara Grover;
-Bring in the lawyers: challenging the dominant approaches to ensuring fairness in divorce mediation, Craig McEwen, Nancy Rogers and Richard Maiman;
-Yes, no, and maybe: informed decision making about divorce mediation in the presence of domestic violence, Nancy Ver Steegh.
2: Child Welfare Mediation and Family Group Conferencing: Rights myopia in child welfare: a problem-solving model: the example of family group conferencing, Clare Huntington;
-Why won't Mom cooperate? A critique of informality in child welfare proceedings, Amy Sinden.
E: Managing High Conflict Cases: Parenting coordination for high conflict families, Christine Coates, Robin Deutsch, Hugh Starnes, Matthew Sullivan and BeaLisa Sydlik;
-Building multidisciplinary professional partnerships with the court on behalf of high-conflict divorcing families and their children: who needs what kind of help?, Janet R. Johnson.
F: Pro Se Litigants: And justice for all – including the unrepresented poor: revisiting the role of judges, mediators and clerks, Russell Engler;
-A family law residency program?: a modest proposal in response to the burdens created by self-represented litigants in family court, Steven Berenson.
Part III The Role of Lawyers and Other Professionals:
A: Lawyers: Emerging roles of the family lawyer: a challenge for the courts, Forrest S. Mosten;
-Collaborative family law, Pauline Tesler;
-Family law in the 21st century: note: ethical issues in collaborative lawyering, Barbara Glesner Fines.
B: What Role for the Child's Voice?: What's wrong with children's rights, Martin Guggenheim;
-Children's participation in the family justice system – translating principles into practice, Nigel Lowe and Mervyn Murch;
-Representing children: the ongoing search for clear and workable standards, Barbara Ann Attwood.
C: Mental Health Professionals and Interdisciplinary
Collaboration: Making a place at the table: reconceptualizing the role of the custody evaluator in child custody disputes, Mary Kay Kisthardt and Barbara Glesner Fines;
-Commentary on Tippin's and Wittmann's 'Empirical and Ethical Problems with Custody Recommendations: A Call for Clinical Humility and Judicial Vigilance', Joan B. Kelly and Janet R. Johnston.
Part IV Preventive and Supportive Strategies: Between private ordering and public fiat: a new paradigm for family law decision-making, Howard Fink and June Carbone;
-Parental conflict prevention programs and the unified family court: a public health perspective, Andrew Schepard;
-Keeping in contact: the role of family relationship centres in Australia, Patrick Parkinson;
Jana Singer is a Professor of Law at the University of Maryland, USA and Jane Murphy, is a Professor at the University of Baltimore, USA