When Mediation Won’t Suffice: Six Scenarios Where You Can’t Negotiate a Divorce
Mediation is the best option to end a marriage. By helping you and your spouse negotiate a settlement, mediators not only save you from the high cost and even higher stress of divorce court, but also increase the odds that you’ll both be happy with how you left things. But as beneficial as mediation is, there are some situations where it just won’t work out. The following six scenarios make mediation difficult or impossible, meaning you’ll have to forego this proven process and take the divorce to court:
1. Violence & abuse
If your spouse is violent or otherwise abusive to you, you may not feel safe meeting in a private mediator’s office. While most mediators will let you bring someone with you who can protect you, you’d still be safer in a courtroom. Your safety is more important than anything else. So if you think your spouse is likely to harm you, don’t give them the opportunity, even if it means foregoing mediation.
2. Potential for shame
In addition to using violence, an abusive, mean-spirited spouse may try to humiliate you during your divorce. Mediation gives them an opportunity to do this, because the mediator will look through all your finances and other records and discuss them with each of you. If your spouse finds out that you did something embarrassing, they may share this information publicly. So it’s important to consider whether your spouse would do such a thing and what kind of information they might reveal about you before you use mediation.
3. Power & intimidation
Even when no one physical or emotional abuse exists in a relationship, some people are intimidated by their spouses and unable to negotiate with them on equal footing. If this is true of you, it can be hard for you to make sure that you’re getting a fair deal. Your mediator will do their best to uphold both your interests. But if you’re intimidated by your spouse, you may have trouble articulating what you want or how badly you want it, making it harder for the mediator to demand it.
4. Hidden assets
Your spouse may have hidden their assets from you so they don’t have to share them in a divorce. Your mediator will try to find them, but because they don’t have the legal power of a judge, there’s only so much they can do to uncover hidden property.
5. Excessive demands
You may sit down to negotiate with your spouse, only to find that they have a long list of unreasonable demands. A mediator can't force them to compromise on those demands or make a decision without their consent, but a judge can.
6. Angry spouses
Besides having unreasonable demands, your spouse may just be angry at you, to the point that they’re totally unwilling to negotiate. In this case, you won’t even be able to begin the mediation process.
While some divorces can’t be mediated, many can. And because mediation is still the most effective and affordable way to end a relationship, it’s worth giving it a try when possible. For more information on mediation, divorce, and other legal solutions, call Solutions Divorce Mediation, Inc. at 1.631.683.8172 or contact our Long Island office online.