Constructive Divorce: Procedural Justice and Sociolegal Reform
For individuals in the U.S. & U.S. territories
In Constructive Divorce: Procedural Justice and Sociolegal Reform, author Penelope Eileen Bryan offers a compelling argument that the procedures used to settle divorce disputes yield unjust decisions and poor outcomes for millions of adults and children each year.
This well-researched, carefully constructed book discusses the benefits of improving procedural justice in divorce cases (greater compliance with divorce decrees and settlements, enhanced legitimacy of the justice system, improvements to the common good). It then scrutinizes how today's family law system measures up in terms of criteria based in social sciences, such as efficiency, bias, accuracy, consistency, respect and concern for disputants. These discussions lay the groundwork for the author's proposals for procedural reforms and possible changes in the law itself, designed to better protect both legal rights and the mental health of individuals involved in the difficult process of divorce. Woven throughout are insights drawn from the social sciences literature and reflections on how psychology might best serve clients struggling with divorce.
I. Justifications for a Procedural Justice Assessment
- Legitimacy and Compliance
- Dysfunctional Results
II. Introduction to Procedural Justice
- Decision-Maker Characteristics
- System Characteristics
III. Procedural Solutions
- A Specialized Court with Unique Procedures
- Mandatory Disclosure, Dispute Resolution Experts, and the Dispute
- Child Custody Programs and Procedures
About the Author
Penelope Eileen Bryan, JD, has taught family law and civil procedure at the University of Denver College of Law for the past 16 years. She received her law degree and her master's degree in family sociology from the University of Florida. Her scholarship offers a unique blend of knowledge about family law and civil procedure, dispute resolution, the psychology and social condition of women and children, and domestic violence. In addition, she brings a wealth of practical experience to her scholarship. She has served as an expert consultant on numerous divorce cases, supervised students in a family law clinic, survived three divorces of her own, and raised four children, mostly as a single parent.