Cultural influences in Family Conflict: Family Mediation in a Multicultural Context

Abstract

     The conflict in families disputing child custody cases across international borders continues to grow worldwide resulting in an epidemic of parental abduction. Governments and international bodies continue to work toward creating effective solutions through cross border family mediation programs. Ensuring a voluntary process that does not culturally alienate or marginalize participants is a challenge that often creates ethical dilemmas that may go unnoticed, minimized or ignored. When an individual is marginalized or disenfranchised during any alternative dispute resolution process as a result of cultural dilemmas, inequitability is created. Cultural bias and ignorance limits or prevents creative exploration of problem solving strategies, forcing parties into predesigned agreements. In 2012, the Hague Bureau on Private International Law released the first publication on mediation standards and guide for cross border family mediation as an extension of international family law. Building on these efforts, this paper provides a look at how culture shapes identity and influences problem solving in a multicultural context through a review of the literature and actual case examples.

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