Maybe. A good mediator who is familiar with family law disputes should be prepared for all such scenarios and handle the divorce mediation accordingly. If there is a final restraining order, mediation may not be appropriate; the choice is up to the parties, their attorneys, and the mediator, and should be addressed on a case-by-case basis. However, successful mediation can take place where the parties are in separate rooms with the mediator going back and forth between the parties; this is called caucusing. If you feel intimidated, being separate from your spouse may give you the confidence you need to be assertive and forthcoming with the mediator, which is critical to having a successful session. Additionally, you may always bring your attorney to mediation to give you a feeling of security.
Another helpful tip is to ask the mediator if you and your spouse may submit confidential mediation proposals in advance whereby you each make a proposal to the mediator that would not be disclosed to the other spouse, to ensure you touch on all issues of importance to you without feeling put on the spot during mediation.
Lastly, express your fear to the mediator in a calm, rational way in advance of mediation so that he or she can plan the mediation session accordingly and ensure everyone is safe and heard.
Diana N. Fredericks, a family law attorney at Gebhardt & Kiefer, P.C. Diana works with clients whose needs lie in all areas of matrimonial and family law.