If you are in the midst of a divorce, one of the first compromise strategies you might try is a mediation. A mediation is one way of settling a divorce without worrying about a trial or a drawn-out case. Unfortunately, mediation fails sometimes and if not always for everyone. You might be worried and overwhelmed if your mediation fails. Here’s some information on what mediation is, why it might not work, and what you can do instead.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is really about communication, compromise, and working together with your spouse one last time as you process your divorce and all of the issues that go along with it. The process involves sitting down with a mediator, who is a trained third party. The mediator is neutral and his or her only job is to listen and facilitate discussion. The husband and the wife will discuss any issues that they’re having trouble agreeing on, and the mediator will help them talk out the details to ideally come to a settlement on their own.
Mediation can take one session or more than one session. If it is successful, it can be a less stressful, less expensive, and less drawn-out way of resolving differences surrounding the distribution of assets and child custody.
Why Mediation Fails Sometimes
There is no judge in the mediation process. If the husband and wife do not agree on some parts of the divorce agreement, then no one will enforce a decision either way. Mediation depends on both parties being open to collaboration and compromise. If a couple is not at all amicable or they have wildly divergent views on how to equitably split the house, retirement accounts, and other assets, it’s likely that mediation fails.
If mediation fails, it’s important not to feel too discouraged. Yes, the divorce case has gotten more complicated, but many couples find it difficult to resolve their differences via mediation. Rather than getting upset or blaming yourself or your spouse, consider what the next option should be.
Option #1 Try Mediation Again
Sometimes, one effort at mediation isn’t enough. If emotions were running high at the time of the mediation appointment or if one of you thinks more about it and decides that a compromise could work, then a second or third attempt at mediation might be worthwhile.
In some cases, a couple might believe that the mediation fails because their mediator wasn’t helpful or didn’t do enough to facilitate discussion. In this case, it’s fine to request a new mediator. Let the new one know what you want them to do and with any luck, that one will be more effective and more tuned to your needs.
Option #2 Try to Find Middle Ground and Settle
If you do not want to try mediation again or if you have tried it but you haven’t been able to come to a good solution because mediation fails for you, all hope is not lost. Sometimes, all you need is some time and some discussion on your own, over the course of weeks or months. While one or two sit-down appointments with a mediator might have gotten the ball rolling, you might be more effective and less emotional if the two of you can hash out your differences by working through them over the long haul.
If you are able to come to an agreement, you can settle at that point. Even if you have a trial date set, you can still settle your divorce. The vast majority (95 percent) of divorces end up settling before the trial date, so this might be your most likely chance for success. Also, keep in mind that even if you are unable to settle, any agreements you can make will make things that much easier. You might still disagree, for example, on who gets the house, but if you can agree on the custody arrangements, develop a parenting plan, and determine how to split up the retirement accounts, that’s a big step in the right direction.
Option #3 Go to Trial
If a settlement or agreement can’t be reached, then you might have no choice but to go to trial. Unfortunately, this is the most expensive, least convenient, and most time-consuming option. Only five percent of divorces head off to trial; most settle before the trial date, even if mediation fails. The good news is that if you do have to go to trial, then you will know where the endpoint is. By the time a divorce makes it to trial, you both will probably be sick of dealing with the divorce and ready to move on with your lives.
Representing Yourself During Your Divorce
Don’t be intimidated by the thought of going to trial. If finances are a concern, rest assured that you can represent yourself. With the help of a legal advocacy group like National Family Solutions, you will learn what you need to do, what you should wear, how you should address the judge, and how to conduct yourself with proper courtroom decorum during the trial.
A legal advocacy group can also take care of the paperwork that needs to be filed, keep track of important dates, and perform other tasks that will free you up to comfort your children, move into a new apartment, deal with financial chores, and attend to other tasks that are related (or unrelated) to the divorce.
Divorce is never fun or easy, but with some luck and preparation, you might be able to resolve your differences through mediation. If not, there are several options available to you, from settling outside of court to going through a trial. National Family Solutions will be with you every step of the way, setting up appointments with necessary professionals, storing your paperwork, and helping you compile the resources you need to successfully navigate your case. Call us today to speak with a case manager. We will help you decide what your next step needs to be when it comes to your divorce or custody case.