Mediation is often presented as a great alternative to a litigated divorce — and it can be! However, it does have its limitations. There are times when all the good intentions in the world aren’t going to help you avoid litigation and mediation is simply a waste of money, time and effort.
So, how do you know when it’s better to skip mediation altogether? These are the signs:
Your spouse is only doing it to please the judge
Some judges heavily encourage mediation, but a spouse that doesn’t want to be there can make his or her demands so outrageous that there’s really no point. What they want is to go back to the judge and say, “I tried it.” They’re not really interested in an actual resolution.
You feel intimidated by your spouse
You can’t negotiate with someone if you’re too intimidated to try. If your spouse is belligerent, abusive and controlling, you may not have the emotional strength and distance it takes to go through mediation.
Your spouse wants to make everything public
Mediation — unlike divorce — is private. Sometimes a bitter and angry spouse actually wants to put all the marital “dirty laundry” out in the public eye. They don’t care about resolving the issues so much as they care about the court of public opinion. If your spouse is eager to paint you as the “bad guy” in the marriage, mediation won’t help.
Your spouse is hiding things
Mediation requires both parties to come to the table with open books and a willingness to play fairly. If you believe (or know) that your spouse is hiding assets, you’ll probably need all the tools available to you in a divorce to uncover the facts.
Take heart, however, even if mediation isn’t likely to work — you will get through your divorce eventually, even if your spouse isn’t inclined to a peaceful resolution.