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

No one plans on falling into an abusive relationship. For whatever reason, when someone is attracted to someone else, it can be easy to overlook certain aspects of their personality or lifestyle. In fact, it’s incredibly easy to lose yourself to the emotion and infatuation that you feel for them. However, at some point, the other shoe drops, and you’re met with a side of them that you would have never believed existed. Yet, it’s there, and you’ve been the unfortunate receiving end of it. If you’ve been married to this individual or shared in a partnership, it’s possible that you made contracts and legal documents that concern the both of you.

However, if those documents are not considered fair based on all that the abusive individual has done to you, you may seek legal help to change the terms of certain documents. In cases where you may feel scared to speak with the individual on your own, mediation may be an option that’s available for you.

What Is A Mediator?

As the name might suggest, a mediator is a third party that acts as a sort of go-between for two individuals. The goal of the mediator is to have both individuals arrive at an agreement–to make them both say, “yes.” One of the benefits of seeking a mediator instead of holding a trial is that it’s simply far less expensive to do so. Mediation typically is an inexpensive way for two individuals to hash out their legal needs in a safe environment.

The skilled and experienced mediator will open up an environment that allows both parties to speak their minds and bring their issues to the table. While these conversations are best done quickly, they will also be sure that enough time is taken, so that each party is reasonably pleased with the final agreement. Obviously, some topics are easier than others to agree upon, and when emotions flare, a mediator can suggest a break in order to cool their heads and come back to the table when they’re ready to continue.

The biggest part of being a mediator is understanding who is ready for mediation and who is not. Those individuals who are just looking to fight and argue with one another will not receive any benefits from seeking a mediator. Both parties have to be ready to talk reasonably with one another and to be able to make some concessions. While the ultimate goal is to find an agreement that best suits everyone, you must also understand that for that to happen, compromises will have to be made on both parts.

An Actual Case As Evidence

If you’re curious about how mediation plays out, then consider the case of E.M. v M.M. This was a couple that was seeking a divorce and it was mutual. However, the wife was seeking to change or remove certain terms of an agreement they made upon marriage. She believed that it should be upheld because she had been forced to sign it under duress. She also stated that she had been a victim of domestic violence as well as deceit during the period in which she suffered from cancer. Additionally, she claimed that her spouse breached his fiduciary duty.

The wife was displeased with the agreement for it left her with nothing after 40 years of marriage. In fact, she was not even able to hire an attorney to bring the issue to court, in which she believed she would have won the case and received spousal support. The court did not find that the wife had been a victim of fiduciary neglect, and in fact, they pointed out that this was the second agreement she had made with her spouse. The first agreement they had signed together had been changed, and this second agreement was actually more beneficial for her. The court told her that an agreement was supposed to be held to according to its terms, and are not considered illegal just because certain parts of the agreement are one-sided.

That being said, they were concerned with parts of the agreement that had to do with maintenance and child support. The wife had agreed to the waiving the maintenance, and the court ordered an investigation as to why that decision was made. Essentially, because an agreement had utilized a mediator, the court was not so eager to just toss it to the side as can happen to other cases. As such, a mediator can lend heavy credence to certain agreements which can either work in your favor or backfire, as shown in this case.

The issue of domestic violence can have massive repercussions that a mediator has to deal with, and so if the victim intends to utilize those at the table, then they must speak with the mediator as quickly as possible and to retain an attorney. If mediation isn’t quite what you’re looking for, but you’re still wary about an actual court trial, there is an option for collaborative law to consider. This rests between mediation and litigation and could be an option for those who need something just a tiny step above mediation.

Will It Work For You?

If you are in an abusive relationship or one that has a high conflict, mediation can only work if you and your partner are willing to speak with one another. As the name suggests, this form of agreement dismantling and rebuilding requires talking and concessions. With Spodek Law Group sitting with you, they can offer their long history of experience in setting the right environment and leading you and your former partner through the talks. Sitting down with your abuser can be difficult, especially emotionally. However, you deserve to have your rights protected. Bring in the right law group to help you secure your rights and become your voice at the table. If speaking with your abuser is too much of a danger to you, then they can speak on your behalf.