The basic philosophy of divorce mediation is that even married people who despise each other can reach an accord if they are guided by a neutral third party, someone trained in the skills of negotiation. Mediation is often much less expensive than tradition divorce litigation and may avoid the lengthy delays and emotional trauma that often accompanies it. It also avoids the environment of lawyers, judges and formal courtroom rules which may produce an unsatisfactory result justified by all the right reasons.
Mediation is most useful when children are involved because, even though the husband and wife are parting, they still have to communicate and cooperate as mum and dad.
Victims of domestic violence should go directly to court. They are already too indimidated to have their husband-tormentor sitting by their side rather than across the dividing fence. Even when abuse is not an issue, women are often disadvantaged in "reasonable" negotiation because they tend to be more accommodating than men. A wife who is less "money-smart" than her husband may not be aware of investments and expenses or able to graps the future significance of every small decision she makes now.
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