The Role of Confidentiality in Your Divorce Mediation Sessions
How confidentiality in mediation creates an atmosphere for honesty and cooperation
In litigation, the court proceedings are usually open to the public. This means that spouses have to testify in open court in front of relatives and strangers. This puts a lot of stress on the spouses and can create a lot of anger when private matters are disclosed. This is especially true if the children are listening to the communications. A lack of confidentiality can also prevent the husband, wife, and children from saying things that really do need to be out in the open.
Confidentiality is one of the most important aspects of Divorce Mediation Associates, Ltd. proceedings. Spouses are encouraged to air their differences in mediation because our Northern Virginia divorce mediators will not disclose those communications to the public or to other relatives, and because open, honest communication is the best way to seek a peaceful resolution to your problems.
Our rules on confidentiality
Before any mediation sessions begin, the spouses and participants are advised on the rules for confidentiality. We inform participants that:
- All communications must be disclosed to the opposing spouse. Neither spouse can try to gain an advantage by speaking or sending a letter to the mediator in private. Mediation sessions between spouses are open, which means any communications by one spouse to the mediator will be revealed to the other spouse. In this way, both spouses understand that the role of the mediator is not to take sides — rather it is for everyone to understand what everyone else is thinking so a fair agreement can be reached.
- All mediation communications are private, except between spouses. This means neither spouse can disclose to the public anything that was said in the mediation sessions or in meetings with therapists or financial advisers. “Public” means writing to a newspaper or posting on social media such as Facebook or Twitter.
- Conversations and disclosures cannot be used in Court. The parties should understand that if litigation is required for any reason, the contents of the mediation sessions will not be admissible in evidence.
There are exceptions for criminal conduct and abuse. Mediators are bound by law to disclose any intent by any participant to commit a violent crime or that a crime is currently being committed. Our divorce mediators are also required to disclose any evidence of physical abuse of a child.
Disputes and other concerns
We may testify if there is a dispute about the existence of an agreement that we facilitated or the capacity of the parties. Professionals may also disclose a possible suicide risk.
Confidentiality is key to successful divorce mediation
Confidentiality is just one of the many advantages of having the team at Divorce Mediation Associates, Ltd. mediate your family law disputes. Our divorce mediators understand how difficult divorce is on everyone. That is why we emphasize that our method only works if the spouses trust and respect each other. Confidentiality helps to foster that trust by making it clear that mediation is about conversation and not anger, revenge, or trying to earn an advantage if litigation is required. To understand all the ways mediation is a valuable option, or to schedule a consultation to discuss the process with a member of our team, please all our office today at 703-665-7592 or complete our contact form. At the initial meeting with you and your spouse, we can help you understand the process, and determine if divorce mediation is right for you.