The benefits of seeking an alternative dispute resolution through mediation to end a marriage have been detailed on this blog in the past. This does not mean, however, that mediation is the best option for every case. The individual circumstances of one’s divorce may dictate that it be best resolved in a courtroom under the supervision of a judge and other court officials.
Just exactly what are these circumstances? The most obvious are cases involving abuse. Domestic violence is one of the most common contributors to divorce, and its after-effects can often be felt during divorce proceedings. Maintaining a calm, non-threatening environment is of vital importance when going through divorce-related issues. Such an environment is most easily attained in court. Indeed, the American Bar Association says mediation should never be recommended in cases involving domestic violence.
Yet domestic violence is not the only type of abuse that can affect a marriage. Drug and alcohol abuse can ruin relationships, as well. Hoping that someone who suffers from a substance abuse addiction (or who is undergoing treatment for such an addiction) can remain composed throughout mediation proceedings might be too much to expect.
Another less obvious reason to potentially avoid mediation is pressure. If one feels as though they are being pressured to go through mediation just to resolve a case quickly, he or she may want to question why his or her ex-spouse is pushing for it. Said ex-spouse could potentially be hiding something he or she does not want revealed in court.
If mediation may not be ideal in a case, participants should remember that partial mediation is always an option. Legal experts are quick to point out that a divorcing couple can choose to resolve to mediate some aspects of their case while litigating others.