Journal Article

Pathways From A Us Co-Parenting Intervention To Legal Outcomes

Marsha Kline Pruett, Rachel Ebling and Philip A. Cowan

in International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family

Volume 25, issue 1, pages 24-45
Published in print April 2011 | ISSN: 1360-9939
Published online January 2011 | e-ISSN: 1464-3707 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/lawfam/ebq015
Pathways From A Us Co-Parenting Intervention To Legal Outcomes

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Although divorce intervention research has demonstrated positive effects on children's and parents’ adaptation following divorce, surprisingly few studies have examined intervention effects on legal system involvement. This study explored effects of a court-affiliated intervention for separating/divorcing parents with children age 6 or younger on legal system outcomes. The study employed a randomised controlled design; the intervention was a hybrid programme of alternative dispute resolution that encompassed an orientation to the legal system, mediation, psychoeducation, and legal conferencing components. Measures of demographics, parents’ functioning, co-parenting quality, and co-parenting practices were obtained from 142 families at time of filing and 15–18 months later. Multiple indicators of legal system involvement (eg, number of court motions filed) were also obtained at the follow-up. Path modelling analyses showed no direct effects of the intervention on legal system involvement. However, the intervention reduced litigiousness through two intervening pathways: (i) according to fathers, through parenting plans that involved consistent schedules and overnights; (ii) according to mothers, through their support for fathers in their fathering roles. In other words, mothers who participated in the intervention were more likely to encourage father involvement, which in turn was linked to lower legal system involvement. These findings point to potential avenues through which divorce intervention programmes can improve family outcomes in the legal system.

Journal Article.  7557 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Family Law ; Marriage and the Family

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