Building upon the foundation established over recent decades, The Mediation Futures Project will gather and report upon our best thinking about the future of the mediation field and mediation practice.
The Future of Divorce & Family Mediation

Divorce and Family Articles

Joan B. Kelly, Ph.D.

Family Mediation Research: Is There Empirical Support for the Field? (An Update)

(3/06/17)Joan B. Kelly, Ph.D.

The divorce rate began its sharp increase in the early 1960's and more than doubled by the end of the 1970's. This was accompanied by dramatic changes in cultural traditions, societal expectations, and divorce and child custody laws.

Reclaiming Mediation’s Future: Getting Over the Intoxication of Expertise, Re-Focusing on Party Self-Determination

(11/22/16)Robert A. Baruch Bush, Joseph P. Folger

For us and the colleagues we’ve worked with for many years, our first premise has always been that self-determination, or what we call empowerment, is the central and supreme value of mediation – a premise probably shared by many in the field.

Nina Meierding

Looking to the Future: Is There Still A Place For Proactive, Early Intervention Mediation in Our Changing Field?

(10/17/16)Nina Meierding

The author is hopeful that mediators, participants, and attorneys will re-examine the trend of late intervention, lawyer-centric mediation and bring pro-active, early mediation back as one of the important focuses of the mediation field.

Stephen Erickson

Where We Have Been, Where We Are, and the Road That Lies Ahead

(5/11/15)Stephen Erickson

Looking back as one of the early professional family Mediators, I believe we are a movement developed out of reaction to the excesses and misadventures of the way divorce was practiced in the early 1970s. Most of the early pioneers I worked with turned to divorce mediation out of frustration with the negative results of adversarial litigated divorce.

Marilyn McKnight

Professional Divorce Mediation and The Future

(5/08/15)Marilyn McKnight

Today it really is a “Back to the Future” for me. Divorce Mediation will become the primary way to divorce. Divorcing families will become healthy and resilient, no longer harmed by adversarial divorce.

Sherri Donovan

Family Mediation In The Digital Age

(4/17/15)Sherri Donovan

Twenty-first century technology will continue to impact family life and mediation. The family mediator’s awareness of the possible positive and inflammatory influences of the internet, may be instrumental in effectively identifying and resolving the modern family’s disputes. Social media, cyber abuse, the child’s computer voice, the use of a forensic computer expert and the futuristic divorce are factors to be considered in the practice of family mediation.

Lisa Parkinson

Looking to the Future: Complexity, Chaos, and Making Connections

(3/31/15)Lisa Parkinson

Diversity matters! For mediation to develop in fresh and vibrant ways, we need to think and act creatively. Some of the best ideas come from making connections – for example, between mediation, sciences, and the arts – and through using these connections in practice. Bernie Mayer's article in the Mediation Futures series struck chords with me, with its references to complexity science, chaos, and the importance of adapting the ways we mediate to meet diverse needs, instead of expecting participants to fit in with the particular way we choose to mediate.

Susan Bulfinch

Reflections on Mediation: Past, Present, and Future

(3/30/15)Susan Bulfinch

To reflect on the future, it is helpful to understand where we are and how we got here. This article gives an overview of mediation and suggests some directions for the future. Social media will help increase interest in the field and teaching conflict resolution at an early age may help reduce conflict at school, home and work.

Peter Salem

The Future of Family Dispute Resolution: Mediation as a Piece of the Puzzle

(3/20/15)Peter Salem

Had I written about the future of family dispute resolution in the late 1980s, when I was a young and enthusiastic child custody mediator working for a Wisconsin family court agency, I would probably have focused exclusively on mediation rather than considering the current broad spectrum of family dispute resolution (FDR) processes that I did not anticipate at the time.

Laurie Israel

Where Does Marital Mediation Fit In?

(3/02/15)Laurie Israel

During the past quarter century, academics and others writing about mediation have characterized styles of mediation as belonging to one of three categories: “facilitative,” “evaluative,” and “transformative”. The categories are quite clearly defined.

Forrest (Woody) Mosten

The Future of Mediation: Twenty Predictions for Mediation in 2030

(3/02/15)Forrest (Woody) Mosten

If as Eleanor Roosevelt said, “The Future Belongs To Those Who Believe In The Beauty Of Their Dreams,” we in the mediation community have much to look forward to.

Henry Brown

Musings on Mediators, Pizza-Makers, and Humanity

(3/02/15)Henry Brown

I began this article on the future of mediation practice at what I thought, reasonably enough, was the beginning. Discussing how I came to New York in 1985 to train with John Haynes on a new approach to managing disputes that at that time had not yet found its way to the United Kingdom where I practised as a solicitor. However, In the course of writing and reviewing this piece, it began to dawn on me that while the trip was my conscious recollection of the beginning, it was not the actual beginning of my attraction, engagement and investment in what has become a personally and professionally fulfilling career.

Larry Gaughan

Mediating Divorce Agreements: The Problems and the Potential

(2/26/15)Larry Gaughan

It was really exciting to be part of the divorce mediation movement when it became national around 1980. Almost everyone seemed to be aware of the problems with the adversarial system of divorce, and mediation held the promise of a process that was more personal and far less expensive and time consuming. Mediation training was mainly focused on divorce agreements, and those training courses rapidly became a major source of income for the trainers.

John Kenyon

Beyond “Half Full or Half Empty” - Getting the Right Glass

(1/27/15)John Kenyon

The mediation field continues to debate its future with optimists and pessimist talking past each because fundamentally we do not agree on what constitutes mediation. The article takes a different perspective and suggests several ways to tackle the thorny issue of definitions along with using a practitioner to manage these divisive issues.

Maria Eugenia Sole

Violencia Familiar y ODR - Video en Espanol

(1/07/15)Maria Eugenia Sole

¿Cómo podemos definir la violencia familiar? En primer lugar, podemos decir que la violencia familiar o violencia doméstica es cualquier forma de abuso entre los miembros de una misma familia, de un miembro a otro miembro. Este abuso generalmente causa un daño físico o psicológico a este miembro de la familia.

Maria Eugenia Sole

Utilizing Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) for Co-parenting Issues in Families with a History of Domestic Violence

(12/17/14)Maria Eugenia Sole

This video discusses family mediation, domestic violence, and online dispute resolution. Maria Eugenia Sole discusses that different cultures have different definitions--with different understandings of what should be tolerated and what requires help. She also discusses different steps that can help.

Claiming Mediation's Future

(12/15/14)Susan Dubow, Elinor Robin

Our own article on the future of mediation focuses on emerging trends and untapped potential. In addition we decided to write a response to “Reclaiming Mediation’s Future: Getting Over the Intoxication of Expertise, Re-Focusing on Party Self-Determination” which was written by the esteemed Robert A. Baruch Bush, and Joseph P. Folger for in November 2014. We are not submitting this rebuttal in an attempt to change any one’s mind. Instead, as mediators we are generally fascinated with hearing, and telling, the rest of the story, so here it is…..

Douglas Noll

Doug Noll Discusses the Future of Litigated and Non-Litigated Mediation - Video and Transcript

(12/12/14)Douglas Noll

Doug Noll discusses the future of litigated and non-litigated cases.

Maureen Dabbagh

Globalization of Family Mediation Rooted in Children’s Rights

(9/20/13)Maureen Dabbagh

Mediation now includes standards and guidelines for international family mediation. Unlike traditional family mediation rooted in state family law codes, international family mediation has developed within the context of international rights of children. The Hague Conference on Private International Law (HccH) used the principles found in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in framing international family mediation. The first standards for cross border family mediators was presented in December 2012.

Sabine Walsh

Mediation in Cases of International Family Conflict and Child Abduction

(7/08/13)Sabine Walsh

The School of Law, National University of Ireland, Galway hosted in association the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUIG and the Irish Centre for International Family Mediation a Conference on Mediation in Cases of International Family Conflict and Child Abduction on a typically damp Saturday in May in the West of Ireland.

Denise Tamir

The Gray Divorce

(5/25/13)Denise Tamir

Though the fact that divorce has become more common and less of a stigma has some impact, that does not explain why the gray divorce rate is climbing while the general divorce rate is going down. Denise Tamir suggests a few contributing factors.

Charlie Irvine

Hanging On The Telephone: The Future of Mediation?

(11/14/11)Charlie Irvine

I recently attended training in ‘telephone mediation’ delivered by two members of Mer Majesty’s Court Service (HMCS) Small Claims Mediation team. Over 99% of their mediations are conducted over the telephone in an hour or less.

Robert Benjamin

The Mediator in Technocracy: The Future of Conflict Management Practice

(8/24/10)Robert Benjamin

Conflict management work should fare well in the rapidly proliferating administrative and bureaucratic maze of what is becoming known as the technocracy. Based on a belief in the power of rational governance to correct complex issue, a gaggle of laws have been generated requiring constant interpretation and untold agencies which often work at cross purposes and threaten to produce as many snafus as solutions. The only salvation may well be the human touch of negotiators and mediators who are able to skillfully work creatively and common sensibly outside the bounds of traditional notions of rationality to bring about workable solutions.

Lisa Parkinson

Lisa Parkinson: Postive Outlook for Future - Video

(4/22/10)Lisa Parkinson

Lisa Parkinson talks about her excitement about the future of the field. She sees it expanding, becoming more multicultural, and utilizing the internet more and more.

Nina Meierding

Meierding, Nina: Future of Mediation and Personal Fulfillment - Video

(12/06/09)Nina Meierding

Nina Meierding describes the future of mediation as continuing with much debate and outside influences, but sees the principles and theories expanding throughout society. She also talks about the personal fulfullment she gets from helping others create an agreement.

Jim Melamed

A View of Mediation in the Future

(6/21/09)Jim Melamed

One topic that is not talked about much is: mediation in the future. Perhaps we assume that the future of mediation is self-defining or that "others" will make good choices. Will courts and agencies be the primary delivery system for mediation? It did not start that way. What about community programs? And what about technology? Mediation may be soon coming to a pocket or purse near you.

Diane Neumann

Neumann, Diane: Future of Mediation - Video

(5/14/09)Diane Neumann

Diane Neumann discusses where the mediation field is headed.

Jim Melamed

The Evolution and Future of Mediation: Reconnecting with our Activist Roots

(5/08/08)Jim Melamed

The purpose of this article is to recount some of mediation’s past, consider its current state, and offer thoughts on development trends for the future, asking the question whether we are doing “justice” to the “mediation movement” we have created.

Peter Adler

Hope For The Future? Follow The Kids!

(6/13/05)Peter Adler

Resolving complex, highly political, public policy issues is inherently messy. On occasion, a unique chemistry of effective leadership, good technical information, and principled negotiating actually does the job. It beggars the imagination to think that a bunch of smart high school kids could create inspired political breakthroughs where leaders in government, industry, and non-profits have repeatedly failed. Nonetheless, that is what recently happened.

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