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Divorce Mediation - Disadvantages Of Mediation

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaDivorceDivorce Mediation - Divorce Mediation Process, Models Of Mediation, Mediator's Role, Advantages Of Mediation, Disadvantages Of Mediation

Disadvantages of Mediation

Detractors to mediation do exist (Twaite et al. 1998). Detractors' claims can be framed against the above-description of advantages. Viewing mediation as more efficient seems advantageous, yet, expediting the decision-making process may potentially threaten fairness. The litigation process, with its lawyers protecting client interests and disclosure rules ensuring full disclosure of information, can be seen to ensure fairness more than the informal and variable process of mediation. Regarding the espoused benefits of increased accessibility with mediation, it has been argued that the decreased cost of mediation is related to the fact that lawyers charge higher fees due to their greater level of expertise and legal status. As lawyers can better predict settlement outcome if a case goes to court, proponents of litigation contend that lawyers can thus provide better input to their clients. Moreover, the claims of Robert Bush and Joseph Folger (1994) for the potential for increased self-empowerment and growth have been critiqued on the basis of an erroneous assumption: equal power between disputants. James Twaite and his colleagues (1998) summarize the view of many detractors of mediation on this issue. Detractors believe the potential for inequitable settlement for women with the mediator's role of neutrality being inadequate to contain a dominant, or more powerful, disputant. Jessica Pearson (1997), speaking from a feminist perspective, believes mediation decriminalizes domestic violence by offering a conciliatory approach that does not hold the abuser accountable for his or her actions. Additionally, placing the abused and the abuser in the same room for mediation leads to obvious safety issues. Kelly (1996) and Pearson (1997) communicate the complex nature of researching this issue. Both conclude that mediation has been beneficial when domestic violence is a variable but only under certain conditions and only after adequate assessment.


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