Divorce Mediation and Domestic Violence

Unfortunately, domestic violence is a growing problem in the country.  It is common in various cultures and impacts both wealthy and poor families.  Often, outsiders have no idea that their friends and loved ones are suffering abuse.  One disturbing statistic reports that three women are murdered in the United States every single day by a current or former romantic partner.  Millions of men are the victims of assaults as well.

Abusive patterns in marriages often continue even as the parties initiate the divorce process.  Maybe one spouse has convinced the other that they are not worthy of having custody of the children.  Or, perhaps one party is so financially dependent on the other that he or she is afraid to speak up about various concerns.

Divorce mediation is an excellent resource for individuals who have suffered domestic violence.  Divorce mediation allows these individuals the opportunity to speak when they have been silenced for so long.  During divorce mediation, the parties meet individually with a mediator, a third-party neutral.  The mediator will address the concerns and wishes of each party, and will assist the parties with reaching a compromise.   The mediator can separate the parties into two different rooms if that makes it easier for one party to share concerns.  Unlike a trial, the parties do not have to speak in front of each other, which is a major relief if one party has suffered abuse.

All discussions at mediation remain private.  If your case does end up going to trial, the mediator cannot be called to testify.  Your spouse cannot use any settlement proposals you may have suggested at mediation against you.  Therefore, you should use your mediation session to be completely candid with the mediator and express all of your concerns.  If you are worried about your spouse’s temper or the safety of your children, tell the mediator so that these issues can be properly addressed in a settlement agreement.  When parenting separately, you will not be in the room to protect the children.  That is something the mediator needs to know.