Divorce Mediation Is Not Recommended For Couples With A Domestic Abuse History

Divorce mediation and child custody mediation can be excellent choices for couples that are able to communicate openly and honestly with their spouse. However, mediation can be difficult, unproductive, and even emotionally damaging for some couples, such as many of those who have a history of domestic violence or domestic abuse.

Why is divorce mediation a poor choice for those with a history of violence or abuse? There are several reasons:

•    A lack of safety or a lack of feelings of safety. In order for mediation to work correctly, both parties must feel safe and comfortable. If one spouse does not feel comfortable being open and honest, mediation will not be successful. Secondly, it may simply not be safe for a couple to meet in person if one spouse could be potentially violent.
•    Intimidation and compliance. Mediation works best when both husband and wife have the ability to assert themselves, ask for what they want, and work toward a compromise. Often in an abusive relationship, however, the abused spouse is overly compliant and intimidated by his or her abuser.
•    Manipulation and control. Most abusers, and especially those who have been emotionally abusive, often use manipulation and control to get what they want. They are not programmed to treat their spouse as an equal or to work through problems with an open mind and rational thought.
•    Possible restraining orders and protection orders. If there are restraining orders involved, it may be illegal for you to meet in the same room or communicate directly. While some mediation sessions can happen remotely, it is not often recommended that couples with restraining orders participate in divorce mediation. 

What if you still aren’t sure whether divorce mediation is the right choice for you and your family? Speak to a Washington State divorce mediation lawyer today about your case. Although some families will benefit from divorce mediation, others are much better off handling their divorce in court.
Molly B. Kenny
Founder and Principal Divorce Attorney
Molly B. Kenny's Bellevue family law office is conveniently located on Lake Bellevue Drive, making it easily accessible to those in the greater Seattle area. Our divorce and child custody lawyers help men and women get the information, guidance, and compassionate representation they need.
Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny