Family Mediation in A Hostile Divorce?

Ask the Expert: Can we consider Family Mediation when there is hostility?

Question: “My wife and I are proceeding with divorce.  I would like to consider divorce mediation, as it strikes me as the better way of moving forward, but to be honest, we are not very amicable at this time. In fact the tone is downright spiteful. Is divorce mediation even possible in these hostile situations?”

Expert Answer: Mary-Anne Popescu, Family Mediator

“Yes, even when people feel hurt and angry, mediation can be beneficial. Most parents want to protect their children from the harmful effects of conflict and want a separation that preserves their dignity and is cost effective. 

A skilled Accredited Family Mediator is trained to assist people to have difficult conversations that they otherwise may not have on their own.  The mediator controls the process, establishes respectful ground rules that allow both people to be heard.  By focusing on the individual needs of each person and the children, the mediator can help to reduce hostility and increase cooperation. 

Family mediators are also trained to deal with domestic violence and saftey issues.  As well as contributing to the safety and fairness of the mediation, there are steps taken by family mediators towards safety screening and assessing the appropriateness of mediation for all the participants — incorporating questions of suitability, capacity, and mediation readiness. A family mediator will determine how best to tailor the process to suit participants and their specific circumstances.

When couples have direct input into solutions that will work for their family, they are more likely to feel committed to the outcome.  Mediation helps to preserve respectful future relationships – which are especially important when there are children.”