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Published: Fri, 02 Feb 2018
Divorce mediation with an abused spouse
I want to discover if mediation is a viable means between a couple in a divorce where there has been domestic abuse. Will the power imbalance continued during the length of process and what measures are used to contain this situation. Are abused women able to become empowered by the divorce mediation process? What will be resolved by going the mediation route versus the traditional court process? The mediation process does it allow the conflict to be significantly decreased in mediated divorces, when compared to litigated or lawyer-negotiated divorce? What are the advantages of using mediation over going through the court process? Will the mediation be success if both spouses have more say in the outcome because they have created the terms of the agreement? What are the ramifications of the dynamics of the family relationship if children are involved as well? What needs to be considered when dealing with different cultural backgrounds, ethnicity and social class? Many questions have been posed that need to be answered in determining the mediation process between spouses when there has been abuse.
The case study I choose to discuss involved an abused woman and her spouse. It will include details on how they will go about dealing with each other through mediation. The couple had been married for 6 years. They had been separated for four months and the wife contacted the mediator to aid in the divorce proceedings. The wife had moved out of the family home and had taken the child with her and moved into her aunts home. The wife had avoided direct contact with the husband since she left the family home. The husband had been violent on previous occasions, which prompted the wife to leave the relationship. The violence consisted of physical and verbal abuse. For most of the marriage, the husband had been controlling, demeaning and jealous behaviour and had provided the wife little independence in terms of personal freedom or financial means.
Recently the husband’s anger had been getting worse since she left him and feared that the violence was going to escalate. The wife had friends and family to support her exiting the situation. The family had been cautious to not let the husband know where she was living nor have any contact with him either. This meant that safety guards were being enforced in the situation. It would be best if the mediators used the interventalist approach in dealing with the husband and wife. The mediator would not allow the husband to continue his abusive ways nor would they allow the wife to be controlled or intimidated during the process. The need for the husband to be very clear about his intentions in the divorce proceedings was a pressing issue. The husband and the wife would have separate mediation situations since it would be best to keep them separate. This way the wife would be able to speak her mind and assert herself in ways that she had not in years. It was the hope of the mediators that the wife would be able to regain some her power. This is since there had been a power imbalance between the couple very many years. The abused wife is able to stand up for herself and make choices about the direction and choice of terms of the mediation. It may have been a long time since the abused spouse was able to make choices. It was important that the wife be able to free express herself without any fears or concerns. I believe that the abused spouse will be able to assert herself to gain confidence and strength in their own voice to overcome the past. This process is more than just cooperation it is a means to advance everyone’s desires so that things can be worked out amicably. The husband cannot be allowed to control the mediation process or the eventual outcomes.
The key issue in this case was how the mediator handled the imbalance of power and spouse abuse in this relationship. The mediation literature is clear about the dangers of mediating such cases without a number of safety mechanisms built into the process. We wanted to examine the extent to which mediators were able to probe and identify the abuse, and then how decisions were made in regard to proceeding to the next stage of the process. The main question examined was: did the mediator assume a neutralist or interventionist stance in the initial phase of working with this couple? The mediation literature is clear that in the face of mediator neutrality, abused women in mediation are not only in a less powerful position to represent their needs and interests in negotiation, but seriously compromise their safety at a time during which violence is likely to escalate.
Body of Essay
It is important to pre-screen the spouses to discover if mediation is suitable for mediation. This pre-screening effort will determine if it is the right choice for the divorcing couple. Once domestic abuse is discovered, it will set the tone for the way the mediation will be conducted. It may be that mediation is not the right option for the divorcing couple as safely may be an issue. Dealing with an abuse spouse can be dangerous for all involved and that is why it is so important to discover the abuse early on in the mediation to determine if it is ongoing. If one spouse is too fearful to properly perform the mediation sessions then it should be terminated. It is vital that the abuse spouse is fully able to be a part of the mediation process because it will be effective in its outcome.
It is very important that the mediator that is involved in the situation is an experience mediator with abused spouses. It may be necessary to have more than one mediator to deal with the situation. It is important that the mediator stays impartial to the both spouses in the ability to reach a fair solution. All screening should be done separately as they will be able to open up more freely than if the other spouse was in the room. This could be through intimidation or not wanting to get the other spouse in trouble. It is important that the mediator keeps up to date to on the current situation with the divorcing spouses as to make sure that things have not escalated the an unsafe situation for either spouse.
Mediation is a suitable fit for many couples but it is certainly not for everyone. A mediator is educated to sift through those cases of power imbalances or physical or emotional abuse. Mediation is usually not suitable in situations of severe power imbalances between spouses or in cases of extreme physical or emotional abuse. It can be an alternative that helps the couple rebuild their lives in a constructive, productive and understanding approach. Mediation helps couples evade the bitterness of a bad divorce. The children benefit from having two parents that can work together to overcome their differences to support the raising of the children.
The mediation process in most cases is done between the spouses with the support of the mediator. It normally entails initial sessions where the mediator meets with each party separately. The mediator can assist each couple recognize their personal needs and look for were the couples initially agree on common objectives to more difficult objectives. The next step can be joint meetings where this consists of a number of meetings that with the mediator. The couple is able to work through a list of items that they have in mind. The mediator aids the spouses in negotiating to reach suitable terms that suit the both of them. The couple is advised to take into consideration requirements and interests of their spouse. Mediation encourages conversation, cooperation and inventive resolutions
This is only if it is determined that it is best that the couple have meeting together as it will be more productive. It is not that common to have joint meetings where there has been abuse or power struggles between the couple. Legal and non-legal issue can be discusses which are issues that are important to the couple such as parenting techniques, monetary support or division of property.
The mediator can pass on other resource ideas to the couple that is in terms of more appropriate additional resources. This could be in the form of part of the mediation of terms is done by the couple and the other part is done through a binding court process. The couple may need arbitration, custody assessments, lawyer assisted negotiation. They may need classes about the effect of divorce on parents and the children. There are many factors to consider when divorcing. There are many ways to be able to access the needed resources that will assist in making the mediation process smoother.
There must be guidelines in place protect the safety of the mediator, the abused spouse and any children. An arrangement for separate waiting areas and different arrival and leaving times when suitable and achievable. This would be in permitting the abused spouse to get there last and depart first with a sensible interval in time for protection reasons this could be using separate meetings during the mediation process. It may important to have co-mediation team with a consisting of a male and a female. The abused spouse may need to have a support team present in the waiting room during screening or during the mediation sessions. For mediation to work for an abused spouse it may be very important that they have a network in place to help guide them through the mediation process. It can be a very difficult time and the abuse spouse should not be alone at this point in time for their safety and to provide them with strength in dealing the situation.
It is important to make certain that the abuse is not a continuing aspect during mediation. The mediator needs to at all times to uphold an equilibrium of authority between the couple. If this is not achievable, it may be best to conclude the mediation process and send the couple to other more suitable options. Other options may include shelters, counselor, abuse prevention groups or legal counsel.
The mediator should never mediate about the facts of the abuse that has occurred. For case in point, a suggestion to discontinue the abuse in trade for complying with certain terms should not be permitted in the mediation process. By no means should the mediator reinforcement a couple trading non-violent behaviour for compliance.
While safety is an issue, the mediator’s requirement is to make available an unbiased atmosphere for mutual solutions. When this does not seem feasible, the mediator may need to assist the couple in considering alternatives that are more appropriate for their needs. It is important to implement safety measures and safe termination techniques should they be required. The mediator should aid the safety of all the parties in the process and its final result. The mediation must establish guidelines to most advantageous protection for all. The mediator will remain unbiased throughout mediation.
For high conflict couples with children it is important to understand the fact that they will evermore be joined as parents. They have the utmost importance to implement a parenting plan in move on to evade conflicts in the future. The caucus approach can be used with is a carry out mediation. The process involves the couple using a separate room, while the mediators work with the couples to discuss details of the mediation. Through this process, the couple can be motivated to put aside their difference for the wellbeing of their children.
It is important that mediators understand that abuse is a potential problem to mediation. It may be necessary that mediators undergo training for to fully understand the issues surrounding this problem. Families that have lived in abusive relationship have been affected either psychologically or physically. Children that have experienced abusive situations either by witnessing or as a victim have been impacted negatively.
Mediation has numerous rewards in contrast to a litigated divorce proceedings. It has less expenditures associated with the outcome, it is less demanding for the couple, more often than not it is more rapid and more proficient and it has a level of privacy and non-disclosure. The couple has the option available to not have to appear in court. The couples possessions, property and shared debts are not placed in the public record. It is not as harmful to the children that will observe their parent’s representation of the thriving conflict resolution skills. It is favorable for forming an effective, accommodating shared parenting plan. This process is for parents who wish to remain in control of decisions affecting their children rather than by the decisions made by the lawyer or judges.
Other cultures will have different ideas of what is acceptable it is important to understand that a person’s cultural background will come into play during meditation. Mediators need to be receptive to different ethnic, racial and cultural divergences that can influence the mediation process that may be significant in identifying domestic violence. Understanding and working with these different backgrounds will enhance the outcome of the mediation.
For couples with children that are going through divorce mediation it may be important to involve them in counseling. The counseling should be separately with the spouses. It is important that the counseling is kept confidential unless it is discovered that a crime is taking place. This could be in the form of one spouse continuing to abuse the other spouse either such as physical or such behaviours as stalking. The children are going to be effected by the divorce it is imperative that they are able to articulate their feelings in a positive environment.
Children are positively affected when their parents are able to work together to parent. Disputes are diminished as couple progresses through the mediation. Couples that use mediation are more satisfied with the process. Mediation is more effective than reaching binding solutions through the process of lawyer negotiation, court hearing and trials. Over the long term the couple that mediated were more pleased and were able to hash out the existing dilemmas will arise. They make their mind up more habitually by means of supportive processes. It allows for a positive and constructive path for the couple. Mediation gives them control over their future. The decisions made are about how the couple will deal with the financial assets and how they will parent their children.
Mediation succeeds because it takes into factors in the necessary requirement to be understood. Making the most of the mediation enables the couple to communicate their needs and concerns. Divorcing couples still have a great deal in common and they have a need to maximize their communal possessions to be able to make available the best for themselves and any children involved. Mediators encourage these shared interests by helping the couple to make clear points to discuss, resolving dilemmas and making the essential choices that conclude in an equitable divorce arrangement. Mediators handle the progress so that couples can create knowledgeable choices with the least amount of differences leading to a quarrel.
Litigation that involves lawyers and judges is often about getting even for a wrong deemed in the marriage by being the winner of the proceedings. This is in trying to obtain the most for himself or herself and at the other person’s expense. It is important to seek legal guidance from a lawyer to receive important legal advice concerning the couples rights and entitlements. It needs to be understood that legal advice on its own is not able to assure a considerate and continuing ruling of the divorce. The conventional divorce situation is a win-lose procedure that is inclined to center responsibility on one of the spouses. This is to be able to obtain more property, access to the children or alimony. The couple already feels defenseless and hurt by the divorce. This can leave the couple feeling even more irritated and bitter with the outcome. In mediated divorces, the conflict is significantly decreased, when compared to litigated or lawyer-negotiated divorce. The earlier the couple seeks mediation they can benefit from less quarrels and improved results than those offered through the court system. Compliance is usually higher with mediated agreements than litigated outcomes. If the spouses are dedicated to the idea of mediation, the outcome is more cost-effective than a conventional divorce and the emotional impact is lessened for all aspects such as the spouses and children.
It may be more difficult in mediate when one spouse has abused the other. The benefits are quite worth it since the process will be returning power to the spouse that had been abused and controlled. It is a long process to deal with the emotional ramifications but through mediation, this may be able to be achieved. It is important that both spouses feel a sense of control over the process and those divorce issues are being dealt with adequately. Mediation can be an effective means of dealing with divorce if an experienced mediator handles the parties properly. Divorce Mediation assists the couple in reaching a union they both agree with in a calm, secure and comfortable atmosphere. The main purpose of mediation is to assist in mending the damage between the spouses this allows them to build the groundwork for optimistic communication after divorce. It can be stressful to deal with divorce when there are children involved. These discussions are about their real needs and concerns. The support of a mediator can aid in the couple working together with the spouses to have better outcome. It can be difficult to talk to each other since there are so many harsh feeling involved. Mediation is collaborative and gives the divorcing couple the highest likelihood both having an equitable solution. It encourages open discussions that help spouses come up with ideal resolutions that work for them. Mediation allows the spouses to be back in power over their choices. It allows them to guide their decision making during the process by inquiring, responding and cooperating in the final result. This is during the process of mediation the couple is responsible for deciding what is best for them and their children.
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