THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD: ARTICLE & EMPIRICAL STUDY: IT'S THE CONFLICT, STUPID: AN EMPIRICAL STUDY OF FACTORS THAT INHIBIT SUCCESSFUL MEDIATION IN HIGH-CONFLICT CUSTODY CASES Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2008 Wake Forest Law Review Association, Inc.
Wake Forest Law Review

THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD: ARTICLE & EMPIRICAL STUDY: IT'S THE CONFLICT, STUPID: AN EMPIRICAL STUDY OF FACTORS THAT INHIBIT SUCCESSFUL MEDIATION IN HIGH-CONFLICT CUSTODY CASES

Summer, 2008

Wake Forest Law Review

43 Wake Forest L. Rev. 505

Author

Ralph A. Peeples*, Suzanne Reynolds** and Catherine T. Harris***

Excerpt



I. Introduction
 
High-conflict custody disputes continue to bedevil the legal profession and the social and behavioral sciences. 1 For custody disputes that the parties cannot resolve, 2 the various professional communities have offered a number of suggestions, none of which seem to have produced any real solutions. 3

This Study takes another approach. Instead of offering another proposal for handling high-conflict divorce and custody disputes, this Study analyzes the data from parties in custody cases who have enlisted the aid of the court to resolve their disputes. In a jurisdiction with mandatory mediation of custody disputes, the Study then isolates some of the factors that characterize those cases in which the parties do not reach an agreement through mediation. By isolating those factors, the Study offers some insight into which subset of high-conflict custody cases may resist our best efforts to resolve them through mediation.

To isolate these factors, this Study analyzes the child custody resolution process in Forsyth County, North Carolina, a county with mandatory mediation of custody disputes since 1995. Our goal was to learn how custody issues are resolved in high-conflict custody cases, which we define as those custody cases in which the parties enlisted the aid of the court. 4 To do this, we set out to read, collect, and analyze court records of all the custody cases in which there was a custody resolution event in the year 2002. 5 From these records, we derived a data set to test the ...
 
 
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