What Happens If My Spouse Won’t Agree to Divorce Mediation?
We’re often asked if divorce mediation can proceed when one spouse has not bought into the process. Mediation is designed to be a cooperative venture. If one spouse is open and engaged, but the other sits tight-lipped with arms crossed, that’s not mediation. Nor is it mediation if only one spouse shows up for the session. So, what must a couple do to get all the advantages of mediation? Here are the minimum requirements:
- Attendance — Progress is made in mediation when both spouses express their preferences and the mediator guides them through conflict toward compromise. Unless both points of view are represented, there can be no progress.
- Preparation — If you come to a mediation session without first thinking about your objectives, you’re going to waste time. If the topic for the day is child custody, think about your children’s schedule as well as your own. List the activities, holidays and vacations you want to share with them. Think about any changes you might have to make to be a custodial parent. Come to your session ready to express your wishes.
- Participation — There must be give and take. Defensiveness and stubbornness do not move the process forward. The mediator will try to strike a balance, but both must be willing to express their wishes in order for them to be considered.
With that said, some parties take time to warm to mediation. They may need time to reflect, to begin to trust the mediator, or to let the reality of the divorce sink in. So, if your mediation gets off to a slow start, or hits a rough patch, that’s not unusual. There is no set schedule, so you can go at your own pace. With patience, mediation could still wind up being a cost-effective solution to your divorce issues.
If you’d like more information on how divorce mediation can work for you, call Solutions Divorce Mediation, Inc. at 1.631.683.8172 or contact our Long Island office online.