Five Signs Mediation May Not Work for Your Divorce
Divorce mediation is a healthy, productive way for most couples to end their marriage without the conflict, stress and expense that comes with litigation. There are, however, a handful of scenarios that can make mediation difficult and in which proceeding with mediation may not be productive. The following are issues that frequently can hinder the success of mediation:
- A history of substance abuse and/or domestic violence — If one of the spouses is battling drug or alcohol addiction, he or she might not be in the right mindset to have the kinds of honest, open conversations that are needed in a mediation. If domestic violence has occurred, the abused spouse may have fear of meeting with the abusive spouse or there may be a restraining order in place preventing such a meeting.
- Mental health issues — This concern arises most often when a spouse has an undiagnosed mental health condition that makes them prone to certain erratic behaviors. It also occurs when a spouse has gone off their medication, which causes them to backslide and struggle with the mental health issue once again. Certainly not all mental health conditions preclude mediation, but if the issue is severe enough, mediation may not be feasible.
- High levels of acrimony between the spouses — In our experience, most couples realize that their divorce affects not just themselves but their children too, so they eventually are willing to come to the table for a discussion. However, there are couples that have so much anger toward each other that productive discussion isn’t really possible, and for those couples litigation may be the only choice.
- Refusal to budge on child custody issues — You should be aware that if your divorce ends up in court, you may be required to try child custody mediation. This is because the courts understand that decisions about custody are best made by parents, not by judges. Reaching a parenting plan through mediation is preferred and definitely possible in most cases, but occasionally parents truly can’t work together, requiring that the custody issue be turned over to the court.
- Time commitments — To make mediation work, couples need to be willing to devote enough time to the process. Negotiating and settling issues takes time. If a couple is in a race to end the marriage, or if they are under time pressures due to careers or other factors, mediation may not be the right choice.
The professional mediators and attorneys at Solutions Divorce Mediation, Inc. have decades of experience. Even if you are unsure about whether mediation might work for you, we encourage you to speak with us about your situation. We offer a free initial consultation. Please call 1.631.683.8172 or contact us online to speak with our Long Island legal team.