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When is mediation not an appropriate method of conflict resolution?

On Behalf of | Apr 20, 2023 | Divorce, Divorce Mediation

There will be difficulties when it comes to divorce, no matter what the circumstances are. How complex the process is will vary from couple to couple, depending on many factors. 

Mediation, an alternative to the traditional litigation process and a form of alternative dispute resolution, is an excellent and effective way for parties to resolve conflict. 

Sometimes, however, mediation is not the best option. Even though it is highly effective in most cases, it requires certain traits and goals from the parties and/or their counsel. Some couples are not mentally or emotionally fit for the mediation process, particularly if they have ill will against the other party or wish the other party harm.

When is mediation not recommended?

While a recommendation is made on a case-by-case basis, typically, mediation is not the best forum for a couple’s dissolution of marriage:

  • When there is extreme animosity between the parties and one or both of them want the other one not to be well or to be harmed
  • When the parties have two different views of reality
  • When one or both parties suffer from severe mental and psychological issues preventing them from negotiating or participating at a reasonably equal level as the other party
  • When it is a highly violent relationship. Even though some mediators take cases where domestic violence is involved, severe violence can impede one party from being able to participate fully
  • When one of the parties attends mediation for the sole purpose of having the other party lose

Mediation is an effective form of dispute resolution when the parties are capable of negotiating, can look at things objectively, and can at least agree on the basic tenets of the situation at hand. The idea in mediation is to negotiate a shared reality and circumstances and to help separate a shared life.

Both parties must participate in the mediation process in good faith. If they cannot do that, they can have attorneys negotiate on their behalf. If the situation is extreme, it may not be the most suitable form of conflict resolution for that particular couple.