U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Parents Reporting Partner Violence: Reaching or Not Reaching Agreement in Mediation or Litigating without Mediation

NCJ Number
Conflict Resolution Quarterly Volume: 40 Issue: 4 Dated: 2023 Pages: 429–446
Date Published
18 pages

This study investigates how mediation affects outcomes in cases of intimate partner violence.


This study of mediation’s effects on parent-reported intimate partner violence (IPV) found that in mediation designed to be safer for cases reporting high levels of IPV and with parties willing to try mediation, reaching agreement was associated with positive outcomes, and not reaching agreement was associated with potentially concerning outcomes. Research is needed to identify risk factors for not reaching agreement. Additional services may need to be provided in such cases. Using data from a study examining forms of mediation designed to be safer for separating parents reporting high levels of intimate partner violence (IPV), the current study compares three groups, cases that reached mediation agreement (“mediation agreement group”), did not reach mediation agreement and returned to court (“no mediation agreement group”), or went to court without attempting mediation (“court group”). Ninety-eight cases started mediation and 68% did not reach agreement. Sixty-six cases went to court without mediation. The mediation agreement group reported better outcomes, immediately (e.g., felt safer, less upset, higher satisfaction, faster case resolution, more likely to address issues and interparental communication limits) and one-year later (e.g., higher satisfaction, fewer court orders), than the other groups. The court group only differed from both mediation groups on a few measures (e.g., lower satisfaction, less likely to exchange children at parents' homes). The no mediation agreement group reported more negative outcomes than one or both other groups (e.g., less satisfaction, more harassment from other parent, less social support at follow-up). (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: January 1, 2023