Legal Professionals of Hirsch & Ehlenberger

Can mediation work even during a high-conflict Virginia divorce?

On Behalf of | Sep 14, 2023 | Divorce

Mediation has become one of the most popular solutions for disputes in modern Virginia divorces. Couples can work with a neutral professional to sort out their disagreements and eventually decide upon fair terms. So long as they reach a compromise and sign an agreement, they can then file for an uncontested divorce. Traditional mediation often involves everyone sitting down together to have a facilitated discussion about any disagreements regarding custody matters, support issues and property division decisions.

Many people jump to the conclusion that mediation will not work for them because they are in a high-conflict situation. Perhaps their spouse cheated and now they can’t stand to even be in the same room with them. Maybe there has been a history of physical or emotional abuse. However, under a variety of circumstances, mediation can work even for families in high-conflict divorce situations.

Alternative forms of mediation can still prove helpful

If people cannot sit down to discuss matters, they might assume that it will be impossible for them to work together in a mediation session. However, there is an alternative form of mediation that can sometimes work for families when traditional mediation isn’t a viable option. Shuttle mediation gets its name from how the mediator goes back and forth between two locations or rooms. They shuttle between parties while keeping them separate. Research has shown that shuttle mediation can offer improved outcomes even in cases involving domestic violence.

By keeping the spouses separate, it is possible to keep the level of conflict relatively low. The mediator can then help the spouses drill down into their issues and find compromises that everyone agrees are appropriate. While mediation doesn’t always prove successful and won’t work for every family, taking it off the table simply because of the level of conflict in the family isn’t necessarily the right choice.

Divorcing spouses who can make mediation work may be able to keep their costs lower while simultaneously maintaining more control over the outcome of the divorce process. Considering mediation as part of one’s legal strategy can potentially help people protect their privacy, their finances and specific assets, all of which might be vulnerable during divorce litigation.


FindLaw Network