Source: (1995) Social Work 40(5).

Many states have enacted legislation that authorizes the use of alternative dispute resolution methods to resolve civil, family, and criminal disputes. Originally used to relieve crowded court dockets, which were an injustice to all parties involved, alternative dispute resolution not only has succeeded in its original goal but also has increased personal satisfaction with the outcomes of legal disputes. One method – mediation – complements social work’s values by empowering clients to plan for and participate in the shaping of their futures and to do so with a problem-solving focus. This article discusses the process of both divorce and victim-offender mediation and is intended to stimulate dialogue about how mediation can be used to promote peaceful, win-win resolutions of interpersonal conflicts