The process of mediating a divorce can be a great alternative to traditional divorce litigation. For many, a private process that allows them to work through complex financial and child custody issues can be appealing. For others, the financial benefit of mediation which eliminates costly motion practice and costly attorney’s fees are enough to convince them to give mediation a try. Unfortunately, all the benefits aside, mediation is simply not a one size fits all solution to every divorce action. More and more litigants are approaching mediation not as a true alternative to litigation, but a prerequisite to traditional litigation. As a result, they are surprised when the process doesn’t produce the desired result. Mediation is a process that works best when both parties are prepared to communicate, are open and honest about their finances, and are open to negotiating for the sake of compromise. If you are considering mediation, here are three signs that divorce mediation may not be the best method to resolve the issues in your divorce. 1. Failure to provide full financial disclosure
The mediation process is designed to assist parties who desire a fair and reasonable division of their assets. The expedited aspect of the process eliminates discovery litigation and relies on the parties to be open and honest about their income, expenses, assets and liabilities. If you suspect your spouse may not be willing to be open and honest about their finances, perhaps divorce mediation is not the best route for resolution of your divorce.
2. Abuse or intimidation in your relationship
The ability to communicate one’s desires and concerns is the cornerstone of the mediation process. In relationships where there is abuse or one party is intimidated by the other, the abused spouse may not have ability to effectively advocate for themselves. While the mediator may be aware of the one sided nature of the process, he/she must remain neutral and cannot advocate for either party’s best interest. The mediator’s sole purpose is to obtain an agreement. If you feel as though you cannot effectively advocate on your own behalf, then mediation is not for you.
3. The other party simply does not want a divorce
If your spouse is completely adverse to obtaining a divorce, mediation may not be best for you. Mediation is successful when the parties can at least agree that the marriage must end, and genuinely desire a divorce. If your spouse is hesitant to end the marriage, he/she may treat the mediation process as an attempt to resolve the issues of the marriage versus an attempt to resolve the issues of the divorce.
If you are currently involved in the mediation process and you are unsure if the process is working, or you would like advice as to your rights on the substantive issues in your divorce, please contact our office for an initial consultation to review your options.