If you have been a victim of domestic violence during your marriage, you are far from alone. In fact, the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy reports that roughly 20% of married couples have had at least one physical conflict. Emotional abuse is probably even more common, sadly.
By itself, domestic violence is a sufficient reason to end your marriage. If you are planning to divorce your spouse, however, you may not want to go through a long legal battle. Mediation is often a faster and more cost-effective alternative. Is divorce mediation possible for victims of domestic violence, though?
What are the concerns?
Mediation should be a level playing field where each spouse tries to resolve divorce-related issues in a collaborative way. One problem with domestic violence, though, is that it causes a power imbalance. This can make mediation challenging, as you and your abusive spouse may not be able to negotiate with equal bargaining power.
Is there a workaround?
In the past, many family therapists recommended victims of domestic violence steer clear of divorcee mediation. That approach has changed somewhat, however.
To make divorce mediation work, it is important to find a mediator who has extensive experience working with domestic abusers and their victims. These professionals know how to protect vulnerable spouses while keeping abusive ones in check.
If pursuing divorce mediation is important to you, you should devote significant attention to finding the right mediator. You also should consider having legal counsel to help you stand up for yourself. Ultimately, your divorce attorney also may be able to recommend a mediator who can help you get through the difficult parts of your divorce.