Send to

Choose Destination
Fam Process. 1980 Jun;19(2):101-16.

A typology of divorcing couples: implications for mediation and the divorce process.


An experimental mediation procedure for the negotiation of divorce settlement agreements was studied through the intensive analysis of nine completed mediation cases. The audio recordings of mediation sessions and postdivorce interviews with both of the former marital partners provided the material on which the analysis is based. Five additional couples, drawn from a similar population but who used the traditional adversarial system, provided a comparative perspective. High levels of prenegotiation conflict and nonmutuality of the decision to divorce were negatively related to attitudes toward mediation and behavior during negotiations. The report focuses on four distinctive patterns of divorce decision-making. The typology is based on three primary dimensions: degree of ambivalence; frequency and openness of communication; and level and overtness of conflict. Couples exhibiting the enmeshed and autistic patterns of divorce were the most difficult for mediators to work with and had the poorest postdivorce adjustment; couples exhibiting the direct and disengaged conflict patterns fared better, both in mediation and in the postdivorce period. The potential importance of intercouple differences for the divorce mediation process and postdivorce adjustment are considered.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center