Divorce Mediation does work quite well for a lot of people. At Westfield Mediation, LLC, we help couples get divorced in a more amicable, private, faster and less expensive way than divorce litigation. However, we do not think it is a magic bullet that will work for everyone who is getting a divorce. When there is a history of domestic violence, the couple's relationship changes and there is a shift in the power dynamic. Mediation is not a good fit when this occurs. One person may not feel comfortable voicing their true feelings about something out of fear of angering the spouse and suffering repercussions after the meeting is over. They may be willing to agree with a parenting plan they do not like or a division of assets and liabilities that is not fair and equitable, just to get the process over and done with without a fuss.
A divorce mediator remains neutral and is not your advocate and does not take sides. However, in some divorce scenarios you do need an advocate and someone on your side. You need someone to speak for your point of view when you don't feel comfortable doing it for yourself. While many couples have had bad fights that have led to getting a divorce, something is different when that line is crossed and you are physically violent with one another.
While you may feel that divorce mediation may still be a viable option for you even with a history of domestic violence, the divorce mediator may feel differently. And if you do not have a history of becoming violent and have started mediation but at some point during the divorce process you have a physical fight, then the divorce mediator may choose to discontinue divorce mediation mid-process. If the clients are not a good fit for the process, then it is the divorce mediator's ethical responsibility to discontinue working with them.
We are happy to discuss if divorce mediation is appropriate for you. If so, we will gladly work with you. If not, we will refer you to divorce attorneys in the area who can advocate for you and represent you through this process.