At Sweeney Law Offices, LLC, we are committed to maintaining the highest level of client care while balancing the health and safety of our clients. Per the various orders of the Governor of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Supreme Court, until April 30, 2020, Sweeney Law Offices, LLC will remain open remotely, we will be available to communicate with clients via telephone and, if necessary, video calls. We will have regular access to email, fax and U.S. Mail. Although our office location will be generally closed to the public, we have set up a drop box outside of our door, which will be checked daily, so that clients who do not have access to email or facsimile can continue to provide important documents to our office. Please note that we will also continue to accommodate the needs of new clients, who are welcome, and as always we encourage and appreciate referrals. During this uncertain and unprecedented time, please stay safe and remember that Sweeney Law Offices, LLC will remain by your side for all of your family’s legal needs.

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Can mediation work in my divorce?

If you’re dreading the courtroom proceedings of divorce, you’re not alone–many people wish there was an alternative to traditional litigated divorce. And in fact, there is. Mediation provides a different forum for divorce negotiations, involving a third-party mediator who helps forge agreement outside the courtroom. There are many benefits to this approach, but whether it’s the right one for you depends on several factors. 

What Is Mediation?

Mediation is a process for divorcing couples that relies on a neutral third party instead of a judge. The mediator’s role is to listen to each spouse and work towards an agreement on the divorce terms. Sometimes a couple will decide to meet with a mediator alone, but often they’ll decide to have their attorneys present, since the mediator cannot offer legal advice. Mediation can cover the entire range of issues involved in a divorce, including:

  • Child custody
  • Alimony
  • Child support
  • Asset division
  • Debts


Mediation has several benefits over a litigated courtroom divorce.

  • It’s cheaper than litigated divorce.
  • It’s easier on your children.
  • It takes less time, since it doesn’t depend on caseloads in the courtroom.
  • Compliance with settlement terms is more likely.
  • Terms are tailored to the couple.
  • It preserves a working relationship between the couple, which will have benefits in later dealings.
  • Confidentiality–all proceedings are completely private.

Complicating Factors

Mediation is often successful, even in cases that involve significant conflict between spouses, such as mistrust caused by infidelity. If both parties are willing to work, mediation can be an option. However, some factors can make mediation untenable. These include:

  • An extreme power imbalance between spouses
  • One spouse truly doesn’t care about the other’s welfare
  • A history of emotional or physical abuse
  • Unwillingness to participate in good faith
  • A fundamental lack of trust between spouses

If one or more of the factors above are present, you should consult an experienced attorney to determine whether to pursue mediation. It could still be a possibility, but a seasoned advocate will be able to help you determine that.

No one wants to go through the pain of a divorce, even the spouse who chooses to end the marriage. The questions involved are complex, murky and sometimes embarrassing. However, for couples that maintain a baseline of trust and respect for one another, mediation can help avoid the worst experiences of courtroom divorce.


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