Requiring mediators to balance the power between the parties is problematic for these experts who are supposedly neutral. However, mediators may attempt this by meeting with the parties separately to hear their concerns before mediation begins. Mediators must be knowledgeable about the issues of power and control present in domestic abuse, and the many ways in which they may be manifested in the relationship, both by the perpetrator and by the victim.
Power balancing techniques include creating ground rules regarding who may speak, when they may speak and for how long, moderating the discussion and writing down proposed agreements.
Mediators must also be familiar with important legal issues which will arise in the mediation session, such as child custody, visitation, child support and spousal maintenance or alimony.
From: Yes, No and Maybe: Informed Decision Making About Divorce Mediation in the Presence of Domestic Violence, by Nancy Ver Steegh, 9 William and Mary Journal of Women and the Law 145, Spring 2003
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