Divorce Israeli Style: Professional Perceptions of Gender and Power in Mediated and Lawyer-Negotiated Divorces
This study examines how the power of women is constructed by divorce professionals in a divorce process that is governed by rabbinical family law, the egalitarian ideology of the recently established family courts, and the growing use of mediation in divorce disputes. It is based on 254 questionnaires and 57 interviews with lawyers, mediators, and lawyer-mediators. We found that except for a minority of women lawyers, practitioners claimed that women were not disadvantaged by family law, and that mediation does not adversely affect weaker parties. However, their reactions to hypothetical situations indicated that rabbinical law does matter for women's bargaining power, and for lawyers’ recommendations for mediation. This study reveals the complexities of the social construction of gender and power in divorce negotiations and the role of women professionals in empowering divorcing women.
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