Assessing Empowerment in Divorce Mediation
The empowerment of disputants is a fundamental concern of mediation research, but empowerment is difficult to measure. This study operationally defines empowerment in a divorce case as an agreed-upon modification of the Texas Standard Possession Order in the direction of granting more time with the child to the noncustodial parent. Using a cross-case analysis of mediated and nonmediated divorce cases, this study found that couples that participated in mediation were empowered, not disempowered, in the construction of their visitation arrangements. Implications for measuring empowerment, litigation, and legislative policy are discussed.