In most instances divorce mediation is the preferred method for a divorcing couple to resolve their differences. Divorce mediation is supposed to be a safe place wherein the couple with the assistance of the mediator fashion a divorce settlement that they are both comfortable with.
There are, however, rare occasions where divorce mediation may not be appropriate. Those instances typically involve cases wherein one party has an extremely dominating and controlling personality and consistently seeks to impose his or her will on the other party. An experienced mediator may be able to affectively balance the power between the two parties and still help them effectuate an amicable resolution however in extreme cases even the best of mediators may not be able to be successful.
Divorce mediation typically does not work if there is a history of domestic violence with one spouse afraid of the other spouse for whatever reason. An effective mediator may be able to help. Some mediators use the caucus method in conducting mediation in such instances. A caucus involves the mediator speaking with each party separately and then subsequently bringing the parties back together. If both parties are comfortable with such an arrangement this may enable the parties to facilitate an amicable divorce even though there is an imbalance of power in their relationship. As indicated above however in extreme circumstances mediation may not be a viable option.
Mediation also may not be a viable option if one of the parties is unwilling to be honest and disclose all their assets and/or income. If that is the case, then divorce litigation may be the appropriate alternative as subpoenas can be issued and the other party can be forced to produce documentation. A mediator does not have the ability to compel a party to do so. An effective mediator however can relate to a party that is refusing to cooperate the consequences that will result if in fact the other spouse makes the determination to engage in litigation. Those consequences include but are not limited to excessive legal fees, tremendous delay in the finalization of the divorce, and the prospect that the judge may sanction that party for failure to cooperate with producing the documents requested.
If you are unsure as to whether or not mediation is right for you, it cannot hurt to call and speak to a perspective mediator and advise him or her of your situation and get their opinion as to whether or not mediation may make sense for you.
Villani and DeLuca has four full-time experienced divorce attorney mediators who have successfully mediated very difficult cases. Should you have any questions relative to the mediation process please feel free to reach out to Villani & DeLuca today and schedule your free initial consultation.