How to Get Your Spouse to the Mediation Table
Often a spouse is interested in ending their marriage without going to court but just doesn’t know how to get their husband or wife to agree to mediation. Maybe the other spouse is feeling hurt or angry and doesn’t want to sit down and discuss things. Or the other spouse might have a lawyer who has advised them against mediating. Whatever the reasons for resisting mediation, there are ways to overcome the objections.
One of the most common objections to mediation is that a wife or husband does not want to get divorced. The fact is that in New York, it is possible to obtain a divorce even if the other spouse wants to stay married. For the spouse who does not want a divorce, mediation can be helpful because it gives him or her the chance to exercise some control over the outcome, such as how property is divided and what happens with parenting time.
Another reason a spouse might resist mediation is that he or she perceives it as nothing more than marriage counseling. The key is for your spouse to understand that the goal of divorce mediation is exactly that – divorce. It is a healthy way to end a marriage, not an attempt to convince people to stay together longer than they want to. But unlike litigation, divorce mediation is a way to end the marriage respectfully and put both parties in position to be happy in the future.
Still another reason mediation may be resisted is a perceived inability of the spouses to talk to each other. In reality, mediation is designed with such communication failures in mind. A professional mediator leads the discussions and specialists — such as financial experts, child specialists and mental health professionals — can be brought in as needed to help the couple resolve impasses. This kind of hands-on assistance from caring professionals encourages most couples to open up and talk productively.
Some spouses believe mediation works only for couples who don’t have significant assets. In fact, though, mediation can be an effective way to reach a fair outcome on property division in high-net-worth divorces. Professional mediators are proficient in using divorce-specific financial software to analyze different scenarios. And it is common to bring in a CPA, business valuation expert or other financial advisor to deal with complex financial portfolios.
If you’re interested in mediation but you’re having trouble convincing your spouse to participate, don’t hesitate to call Solutions Divorce Mediation, Inc. Our Long Island team would be happy to help. We serve clients throughout Suffolk and Nassau counties. Call 1.631.683.8172 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation. We are available seven days a week.