Document Type


Publication Title

Family Law Quarterly

Publication Date



On February 19, 2001, upon the recommendation of both the Family Law (FLS) and Dispute Resolution Sections, the American Bar Association's House of Delegates adopted the Model Standards of Practice for Family and Divorce Mediation (“Model Family Mediation Standards” or “Model Standards”), which are published in this issue of the Family Law Quarterly.

The aim of the Model Family Mediation Standards is to promote public confidence in an evolving, interdisciplinary profession by defining good mediation practice. The family mediation profession (which includes many lawyers) created the Model Family Mediation Standards in consultation with the family law bar and experts on family violence.

The ABA's approval of the Model Standards means that the legal profession formally recognizes that family mediation is a valuable partner with courts and lawyers in the process of resolving family disputes. It is thus a further step in the realization of the vision of the ABA's landmark 1976 Pound Conference which encouraged the profession to think of a court as not simply “a courthouse, but a dispute resolution center where the grievant ... would be directed to the process (or sequence of processes) most appropriate to a particular type of case.”. . .

This article has a modest aim—to introduce the Standards to those in the legal and mediation community not familiar with them. It discusses the significance of the Standards, the process of developing them, what I regard as the most important issues they address and their most significant innovations. The article closes with a vision of the future role of family lawyers in mediation.

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Family Law Commons



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