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Is Mediation an Option when Domestic Violence Is an Issue?

Judith Trentman Wilson, Attorney at Law, P.C. May 19, 2021

Domestic violence can be incredibly traumatic for the victim spouse, and tensions might lead to the point that the victim spouse files for divorce. Sometimes a spouse in Belleville who has been abused wants to end things quickly and keep things out of the courtroom and will turn to mediation to reach a settlement that both parties are satisfied with. However, is mediation a good choice in the face of domestic violence? The following are some conditions that may help you determine if mediation is right for you.

Are You Free to Make Decisions on Your Own?

When domestic violence is an issue, the victim spouse may feel pressured, forced, threatened, manipulated or intimidated into agreeing to what the perpetrator wants out of mediation. It is important that the victim spouse is able to stand up for what matters to them. If not, mediation may not be the best choice.

Can You Both Play by The Rules?

In mediation, the parties will set down ground rules for how they will communicate and cooperate. This means respecting each other’s interests, making full disclosures about pertinent information and treating each other fairly. A perpetrator of domestic violence may not be able to adhere to the ground rules, making mediation problematic.

Will You Be Safe?

When domestic violence is an issue, it is important that the victim spouse is safe not just during the mediation process, but also after the process is complete. Some risk factors include further physical or sexual assault, threatening suicide or an increase in the frequency and severity of domestic violence. If the victim spouse feels unsafe, mediation may not work.

Learn More About Mediation in A Divorce

Ultimately, only you can decide whether mediation would be a safe and effective way to reach a divorce settlement that is in your best interests. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Our firm’s webpage on divorce mediation may be a useful resource for those interested in learning more about this topic.