The project has as its aim the analysis of the nature of disputes and dispute resolution mechanisms involving same-sex couples, and to address the following three questions: to what extent is mediation used by same-sex couples to resolve their disputes? Which are the main differences between mediation involving different-sex partners and disputes between same-sex partners? Which are the restrictions to trans-national enforcement of judgments, and mediation agreements involving intra-family disputes in same-sex couples?
In order to answer these questions the project has four main objectives.
First, the project will look at manner in which intra-family disputes, including cross-border disputes, are resolved through mediation paying attention to the manner in which judges and lawyers encourage the use of mediation, and on the techniques used by the mediators. In this case, through the analysis of selected issues such as legal provisions of family mediation; compulsory mediation; power imbalances between the disputants during mediation; style and role of family mediators, and involvement of children, particular emphasis is posed on investigating whether there are differences between same-sex and opposite-sex couples.
Secondly, the project will consider to what extent and in what ways differences in the legal recognition of same-sex unions affect the transnational recognition and enforcement of judgments and mediated agreements regarding dissolution and family disputes in same-sex couples.
Third concern is given to disputes on sexual orientation between opposite-sex couples and the manner in which such disputes are resolved. Final purpose is sharing knowledge and expertise on mediation techniques, and issues related to intra-family disputes in same-sex couples.
The project, ending in October 2015, will cover five jurisdictions of the European Union. In particular, the countries involved are Italy, England, Croatia, Bulgaria, Hungary and Spain.
The project will produce the following outputs: one comparative research on same-sex couples and mediation in the EU; one international training and three national trainings for mediators, lawyers, and judges on mediation techniques in the area of intra-family disputes involving same-sex partners; one final conference. As far as deliverables are concerned the project will produce: a book on the issues addressed by the research; one handbook for lawyers, judges and mediators on mediation and same-sex couples; conference proceedings.
Litigious Love breaks new empirical and conceptual grounds, and proves significant as:
a) the first comparative socio-legal study on the use of mediation in intra-family disputes, and related issues, between same-sex partners in the European Union;
b) development and promotion of trainings for judges, lawyers, and mediators on issues related to intra-family disputes and dispute resolution mechanisms involving same-sex couples;
c) endorsement of exchange of information, best practices and networking within the EU in the area of family mediation, including cross-border cases involving same-sex partners.