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When Is New York Mediation Appropriate in High Conflict or Abusive Relationships?

January 5, 2018

For couples who have high conflict or abusive relationships, agreeing on almost any issue can be difficult at best. This is especially true if these couples are going through a divorce, since there are always many emotionally-charged issues to resolve such as child support, division of property, and other matters. If the couple’s relationship has been one of constant conflict or physical or emotional abuse, chances are agreements may be hard to come by through traditional means. As a result, mediation is often used to help couples reach a voluntary agreement without having to set foot inside a courtroom. If you find yourself facing a divorce under these difficult circumstances, mediation can provide help in a variety of ways.

Informal Negotiations
Instead of having one hearing after another inside a courtroom, couples choosing mediation can engage in informal negotiations with one another, with all meetings handled by attorneys experienced in performing mediation for high conflict relationships. By having meetings in comfortable offices, both parties can have a chance to talk over important matters without doing so in the presence of a judge. In many cases, this can lead to such issues as child support payments, custody agreements, and other important matters being resolved much quicker than they may be if done through court hearings.

Decision-Making Authority
For many couples who have had difficult relationships and wish to eventually divorce, mediation is a favorable option because it allows them to maintain virtually all of the decision-making authority regarding their situation. This is very important to most people, especially if children are involved in the process. By having a trained mediator present who can keep the discussion focused on the issues at hand, couples can often come to agreements on topics they have had difficulty with previously. In allowing them to maintain control over how decisions are made, couples who have had severe conflicts can in many cases reach compromises that once seemed impossible.

Avoiding the Courtroom
While it can sometimes be difficult for couples in high-conflict situations to sit down across from one another and calmly discuss issues that are very emotionally-charged, having the chance to avoid one courtroom hearing after another is often a big drawing card for both individuals. Since there is much more flexibility available in these hearings, both parties can have much more time to discuss sensitive issues, especially ones involving their children. Because mediation relies so much on having both people communicate with one another, it’s crucial to have a skilled and experienced attorney acting as the mediator in these situations. While it may be hard for these couples to initially communicate well with one another due to the conflicts that have arisen between them during their relationship, a skilled mediator is usually able to convince both parties this option offers them far more advantages than do formal court hearings.

Best Interests of Children
Needless to say, children who have had to witness parents in abusive or high-conflict relationships have seen things no child should ever have to deal with. Because of this, it’s often in the best interests of the children for parents in these situations to agree to mediation. By doing so, not only do the parents retain control over many aspects of their children’s lives, but they are also able to show their children they can sit down and discuss matters in a much calmer fashion. Since children who are involved in a divorce process are naturally upset under the best of circumstances, seeing their parents involved in legal proceedings of this nature can sometimes help put them at ease about their future.

A Fair Agenda
Because both sides can play a large part in setting the agenda for their mediation sessions, they usually consider mediation proceedings a much more fair process for them than traditional divorce hearings. Since both individuals give up much of their flexibility and decision-making authority when they choose to have formal courtroom hearings, their attorneys often recommend mediation sessions as a way to reaching more favorable decisions. By being able to decide such crucial issues as spousal maintenance, child support, division of property, and other issues, couples who have had high-conflict or abusive relationships in the past can learn the decisions they make during these meetings will have a much more positive impact not only on their futures, but those of their children as well.

Making Good Decisions
Although some couples may find these proceedings may not work for them, many others find mediation does indeed make a very bad situation much more bearable. By realizing they will have the freedom to make the best possible decisions for their future, couples can work with skilled mediators to put their differences aside and reach decisions that will benefit everyone. If you are in a high-conflict relationship and feel that mediation may be a way to help negotiate divorce terms, contact us as soon as possible to schedule a consultation.

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