Marriage is a significant commitment, but it does not always work out in the long term. Despite trying to make a lasting relationship, many people find themselves facing a divorce. If the end of the marriage was difficult, then the process of dividing assets, determining how their children will be cared for, and all the steps that go into finalizing a divorce may pose a unique challenge.
Mediation is often recommended to make the divorce process easier. It leverages a neutral third party when making major decisions but, unfortunately, it is not always successful. An experienced family law attorney from the team at Drury Pullen Law can walk with you through every step of a divorce and help you move forward when mediation fails.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a tool that is intended to make difficult legal processes easier. It can be beneficial for family law, employment disputes, and a range of other cases. During the mediation process, the involved parties will meet with a third party who is completely neutral and not connected to the situation. This person, called a mediator, has been trained in negotiation methods. Their aim is to help the two parties reach a consensus without having to take their argument through the courts.
In family law cases such as divorce, mediation is a way for the former couple to make decisions about things like dividing up their property and other assets, parenting time, and any other topics where they disagree. If children are involved in the divorce, then the main goal of mediation will be to ensure that the interest of the children is the top priority and that their needs are being met.
The Stages of Mediation in a Divorce
Mediation can be useful for legal matters, including small business matters, personal injury, and contract negotiations, in addition to family law. Regardless of the practice area that needs mediation, it will follow the same five steps in most cases.
- The mediator will begin the session and provide a brief overview of the purpose and goals of the process.
- Each party will have an opportunity to discuss their understanding of the situation, any concerns they have, and what they hope to accomplish.
- Both parties will discuss their circumstances with the assistance of the mediator. This is an opportunity to respond to previous claims and goals.
- Once the discussion has been completed, if possible, the mediator will meet with each individual separately to discuss potential resolutions, then make offers and compromise.
- When the matter has been settled through negotiation or the time for mediation has ended, then a conclusion will be written out and signed, or another mediation session may be scheduled if no resolution was reached.
Despite the efforts of everyone involved, mediation is not always successful. It is important to understand why this failure happened and how to move forward.
Reasons Mediation May Fail
There are several reasons that mediation may not be successful, including:
- One party is unwilling to participate.
- There is an unequal power dynamic between parties.
- One party is dishonest or deceitful.
- There is a history of abuse or violence.
If your mediation is not successful for any reason, it is important to work with an experienced meditation lawyer to understand how to move forward. When mediation fails, then your divorce case will have to be seen by the judge before it can be finally decided. This will require litigation and potentially a trial, which can be costly and keep you from making decisions about the divorce for yourself. An accomplished family law attorney from Drury Pullen Law can help you through every step of your divorce process, whether you successfully complete mediation or require litigation.
Q: How Does Mediation Fail?
A: Mediation is a valuable tool during the divorce process, but it is not always successful. Mediation will not be successful if one of the individuals involved is not willing to participate openly. Their hesitation may be due to general frustration with the process, anger at their former spouse, or an unequal or abusive dynamic. Regardless of the circumstances, if both parties are not willing to participate in the mediation process, then it will fail.
Q: What Are the Five Stages of Mediation?
A: Mediation is a process that takes time and attention to be completed successfully. Generally, it moves through five main stages. First, the mediator will open the meeting and explain the purpose of the mediation. Once that is done, both parties will provide their concerns and demands. There will be a discussion with both parties, and the mediator to attempt to find a solution. Following the joint discussion, the mediator will meet privately with each party. Finally, there will be a negotiation involving everyone, and the mediation will be finalized.
Q: What Happens If You Say No to Mediation?
A: The divorce process is difficult, and an unhealthy or tense relationship with your former partner can make it exceedingly more difficult. Mediation is often given as an opportunity for the involved parties to have a say in how their divorce will be finalized, especially with things like asset division and child custody. If you refuse to attend mediation that was ordered by the courts, then you run the risk of being held in contempt of court, which could carry penalties like community service, extensive fines, and even time in jail.
Q: What Are the Disadvantages of Mediation?
A: Mediation is intended to be a process that opens lines of communication during a divorce so that major decisions can be made amicably. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. Divorce is a difficult and stressful process, so emotions and tension often run high. This may cause one party to be unwilling to compromise or cooperate during a mediation process, causing more stress and tension. Mediation could also be difficult for individuals who have been in abusive circumstances because it forces them to be in close contact with their abuser.
Trust Drury Pullen Law for Your Divorce and Mediation Needs
If you are facing a bitter or difficult divorce, then mediation is often a way to make difficult conversations easier, such as how property will be divided, who will retain primary custody of any children, and what areas can be compromised. This process is not always effective, unfortunately, and that failure can impact your divorce proceedings. An experienced family law attorney from Drury Pullen Law can help you understand why mediation failed and create a plan for how to move forward. If you need guidance through your divorce process, contact our office today.