You’ve probably heard a lot about the advantages of settling divorce through mediation rather than through the court. A mediated divorce can take less time and money than one where each spouse and their attorneys negotiate their various agreements, which need to be approved by the court. It’s certainly less costly than a divorce where couples and their attorneys are so far apart on key issues that they have to turn to a judge to make decisions.
Mediation can help keep things civil because spouses do most of the work of drafting their agreements themselves. The mediator is there to help keep things on track and provide some guidance regarding the law. They’re a neutral third party and aren’t there to take sides.
A mediated divorce can work when spouses are able to work together. That doesn’t mean you have to be friendly with one another or even necessarily like each other very much at the moment. After all, you’re getting a divorce.
When should you avoid divorce mediation?
There are some instances, however, in which mediation is not a good choice for a couple. For example:
- Only one of you wants the divorce.
- You’re barely speaking to one another.
- You believe your spouse is hiding assets (or debts).
- One spouse easily intimidates the other.
- One or both of you is very angry and/or untrusting of the other.
Certainly, if there’s been any kind of physical violence in the relationship or there has been verbal or emotional abuse, mediation isn’t the right divorce process for you.
If none of those examples above applies to you, and you and your spouse want to make mediation work, you’re off to a good start. If it isn’t producing the results you need, you can choose an uncontested or contested divorce.
The more you know about the mediation process and what will be required of you and your spouse, the better able you’ll be to make the right decision for how to proceed with your divorce.