Mediation is a process where a trained, impartial third person works with individuals to resolve conflicts and help them come to a resolution or agreement. Mediation does not take place in front of a judge but can be court ordered. Depending on the laws of the state and the circumstances under which mediation takes place, mediation agreements may be binding, so you may want to consider consulting with a family law attorney with domestic violence expertise before signing any mediation agreements.
The power and control dynamics present in abusive relationships do not end even when the relationship is over. These harmful dynamics are vividly present during divorce, child custody and visitation disputes when battered women need to advocate for the physical, emotional, and financial well being of themselves and their children. Some states recognize the harmful effects of domestic violence and may exempt you and your abuser from mediation.
If your state does not recognize a domestic violence exception to mediation and you are forced to mediate your case, here are some tips you can follow:
DO NOT BE ALONE WITH YOUR ABUSER!
Obtain permission from the court to bring a victim’s advocate or trusted friend to the mediation for security and support reasons.
Before your court, mediation, or settlement conference date, call the court’s security office and arrange for security or police to walk you to and from your car or other mode of transportation as it may be unsafe for you to be alone with your abuser. To learn more about the resources at your local court house, visit WomensLaw.org, scroll down to your state, and click on courthouse locations.
Carefully consider whether you should sign any agreements or documents during court, mediation, or settlement until you have had a chance to consult with a family law attorney with domestic violence expertise and/or a domestic violence professional
To learn more about divorce and mediation laws in your state, visit WomensLaw.org and scroll down to your state.
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