Generally, mediation works best when both parties are ready to divorce and move forward. Mediation is not appropriate in every situation and a good mediator will not take your case if he or she believes that your situation will worsen or not have a successful outcome.
Here are a few obstacles to an effective divorce mediation:
- Mental illness or drug/alcohol abuse: Mediators have a duty to screen folks that are unable to make decisions for themselves, including mental health issues or drug or alcohol abuse.
- Not in “Same Place”: Meaning one spouse wants a divorce but the other spouse is not ready or would like to work on the marriage. A mediator may refer you to another professional such as a divorce coach or counselor to help you decide whether it is time to move on before mediating.
- Power imbalance: When there is a severe power imbalance, domestic abuse or threat of domestic abuse, (including PFA). Even if there is no physical danger involved, the threat of psychological danger would cause difficulties for one of the parties involved to reach a fair agreement. A mediator will refer you to an attorney or other professional to guide you through this process.
- High Conflict Personality: Divorce mediation may not work if there is a “high conflict personality” involved. Whatever the reason (could be physiological), the person just can’t seem to mediate or come to an agreement. Studies show that some of these cases can be mediated but they typically take three times as long as a typical case. Your mediator may refer you to an attorney, divorce coach or counselor that can better facilitate the process.
- Unwillingness to Compromise: Mediation is a compromise, each party must negotiate and compromise a “fair” agreement. Even the best mediator cannot obtain a compromise from a party that is not willing to do so.
If you would like to learn more about mediating your divorce or custody issues, email Dawn Clement at Dawn@ClementMediation.com for a consultation.