Where there are issues of domestic violence
Normally mediation would be precluded due to one party’s fear of the other. There are some specialist mediators who offer shuttle mediation; no face to face contact takes place between the parties. Instead, the mediator will act as a go-between; the parties will remain in separate rooms throughout the session. Normally there would be staggered departure and arrival to ensure the parties do not meet.
The mediator has to be very careful in their assessment as to whether mediation can take place and whether the victim is able to express their views without fear.
Where one or both parties do not cooperate with full financial disclosure
It is not possible to assist a separating couple to reach a mediated agreement without knowing the full facts. If the parties do not want to reveal their financial circumstances then any potential agreement will be seriously undermined.
A mediator cannot force a party to comply but they can refuse to continue with the mediation. The courts can insist on disclosure and it is then open to the other party to make a court application.
Where one party is violent or abusive
This needs no further explanation
Whenever both parties are not committed to the mediation process
Mediation is a voluntary process and requires commitment from both parties. It cannot proceed if one party does not turn up, is convinced it is a waste of time etc
When one party loses faith in the mediator’s impartiality
A mediator works hard to remain neutral and this is one of the most important aspects of the role. There is often a lack of trust between separating couples and if one suspects that the mediator is siding with their ex partner the mediation will break down. This is rare but people can become paranoid and adopt an unreasonable stance when going through traumatic life changes.