Pennsylvania couples who are considering divorce may have heard of divorce mediation. In this form of alternative dispute resolution, a trained professional mediator works with the couple to resolve issues such as property division, child custody, parenting time and spousal support. While using a mediator can be a good option for some couples who are ending their marriages, it is not always a good option for everyone.
In an uncontested divorce, it is not at all unusual for spouses to work issues out between themselves. In situations where there may be some unresolved concerns, a couple may decide to bring in a divorce mediator. When both parties are acting in good faith and believe that the other party is likewise being honest, mediation can be successful. But when there has been a significant breakdown in the relationship, mediation may do more harm than good.
For example, many mediators believe that mediation is not appropriate when spousal abuse is a factor. In such cases, the primary goal is to ensure the safety of the abused spouse and the couple's children, if there are any. In addition, if one spouse has reason to suspect that the other spouse is concealing assets or withholding important information, mediation is often not the correct approach when addressing financial issues such as property division.
People who are getting a divorce may benefit from speaking with experienced family law attorneys. This is true regardless of whether or not the couple plans to hire a mediator. Legal counsel may be able to review the case and see if negotiating a settlement agreement would be possible as an alternative to going through litigation.