How friends and family can hinder divorce mediation

Many divorces in California can be resolved outside of court through peaceful mediation sessions. Although many spouses don't realize it while they are going through the end of a marriage, support from family and friends can sometimes be detrimental to the mediation process. This is because the family and friends of one spouse may align with their loved one's point of view while taking an adversarial attitude towards the other spouse.

No matter how angry a divorcing person is with their ex-spouse, they will likely be grieving the loss of their marriage. When family and friends rally around a divorcing person to provide emotional support, the divorcing person may avoid their feelings of grief and focus on anger towards their ex-spouse instead. This attitude can cause more conflict during the mediation process and hinder the spouses' ability to cooperate with each other.

Some friends and family members become so involved in a divorce that they wish to attend mediation sessions to defend their loved one's position. Because a mediator is supposed to be impartial, the presence of one spouse's friend or family member is usually not appropriate. Rather than encouraging more conflict between spouses, friends and family of a divorcing person can offer their support by doing helpful things like babysitting or running errands.

When two estranged spouses are able to communicate with each other, mediation can be a less-adversarial divorce process than going through litigation. During mediation, spouses may be able to work out solutions to child custody and property division disputes that are tailored to their specific needs. A lawyer may be able to help a client to determine if divorce mediation would be likely to work in their case.

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