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This article surveys a wide range of procedures that divorcing parties now use, including self-representation. Lawyers sometimes provide “unbundled” legal services to help parties who want to divide responsibilities for legal tasks between themselves and their lawyers. Parties often use mediation, arbitration, and private judging. Norms for lawyers’ professional roles have emphasized the importance of cooperation and some lawyers offer “planned early negotiation” processes such as Collaborative and Cooperative Law. Family courts engage in a wide range of activities beyond traditional litigation and adjudication. Many courts manage or mandate parent education and services related to domestic violence. Courts regularly appoint professionals including advocates for children, custody evaluators, early neutral evaluators, and parenting coordinators.The revolution in family law dispute resolution is still underway. Changing circumstances and limited resources can contribute to deterioration of family court services, frustration of family law professionals, and, most importantly, increased family dysfunction. These pressures create incentives for family law professionals and courts to use dispute system design methods to collaborate more effectively to serve family members and the public. The great challenge for family law professionals is to continue to create better ways to serve families in conflict and transition.


Reprinted with permission of American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.



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