Mediation is an alternative method to settling a divorce. It involves communication between you and your spouse facilitated by a neutral third party. The goal is to help you and your spouse decide on key issues and facilitate more efficient divorce proceedings.
Still, mediation does not always resolve everything. Even after the process, you and your spouse might not see eye-to-eye on some or all divorce-related matters. What can you do if talks break down or are not entirely successful? You can explore other options, such as finding a new mediator, pursuing a collaborative divorce, or taking your case to court.
What Is Mediation?
Various issues need to be settled in a divorce. There’s the matter of dividing property, determining child custody and child support, and deciding whether one spouse should receive support. Let’s face it, these are not easy to settle. How things are settled can completely change a person’s life. It’s no wonder couples going through this emotionally charged experience might have trouble agreeing on resolutions.
If you and your spouse are struggling to determine who gets what, who the children should live with, or any other issue, you might pursue mediation to facilitate making these decisions.
Mediation is a process where you and your spouse discuss various divorce-related matters in the presence of a third party. This person, called a mediator, listens to your and your spouse’s sides of the story to understand each of your wants and needs. They then direct discussions between you and your spouse to focus on each other’s goals. If things start getting off track, say you and your spouse start arguing about who constantly forgot to take out the trash, the mediator brings things back on course.
When successful, mediation helps come to full or partial resolutions of critical issues. After you and your spouse make amicable decisions, you write a settlement agreement for a judge to review and sign. The process creates greater efficiency in divorce proceedings, allowing you to avoid a lengthy and costly trial.
Yet, mediation does not always end favorably.
Why Does Mediation Fail?
A variety of factors can lead to unsuccessful mediation. For instance, one or both of the spouses might not be open to discussions or might resist making what they feel are compromises. It might also be that the couple did not prepare beforehand. Perhaps they didn’t consider their personal needs and what they were willing to trade off on before going into mediation.
What If Mediation Doesn’t Settle Anything?
Although mediation is an effective method for helping couples agree on certain issues, it might settle only a few things or nothing.
If mediation was unsuccessful, before deciding on your next move, it might be beneficial to take a step back and evaluate what went wrong. Was there a lack of willingness on one or both of your parts? Are there any underlying issues causing talks to stall? Were certain matters unresolvable because they were too complicated or emotionally charged? Answering these and other important questions can help determine what to do next.
Once you have a better idea of what went wrong with mediation, you can pursue other options that might address the problems.
Possible paths your case can take include:
- Trying a different mediator. Not all mediators are the same. Every individual has a different personality and way of approaching things. Perhaps there wasn’t a good fit between you, your spouse, and your initial mediator.
- Pursuing a collaborative divorce. A collaborative divorce is similar to mediation in that you and your spouse come together with a third party to work through issues. However, with a collaborative divorce, the individuals assisting are your lawyers.
- Taking your case to court. With divorce litigation, a judge hears your and your spouse’s arguments and decides on unresolved issues. Although this method ensures that matters are settled, it takes agency away from you and your spouse. The judge will make their determinations based on laws and what they believe is in your best interests rather than what you and your spouse feel is best for your family. Additionally, trial can be the most lengthy and costly option for settling your divorce.
Contact Claery & Hammond, LLP Today
Our Los Angeles lawyers are focused on seeking favorable results for our clients and protecting their rights and futures. We discuss the possible options for settling issues and assist in finding a path forward. Whether your matter can be resolved through alternative divorce methods or must be litigated, we are here for you.
To speak with a member of our team, please call us at (310) 817-6904 or contact us online today.