Divorce is painful and in many cases can be made less so if you and your spouse agree to mediate the issues arising from your divorce, and perhaps file an uncontested divorce. But when is divorce mediation not appropriate?
The divorce lawyers at Schwartz, Fox & Saltzman explain the circumstances which preclude divorce mediation for most couples in this comprehensive article.
If you are considering divorce mediation or have other questions about your divorce, call Schwartz, Fox & Saltzman. We have helped Philadelphia area families with divorce for over forty five years. We can help your family too.
Questions to Ask Before Choosing Divorce Mediation
Do You Both Want a Divorce?
If the divorce is nonconsensual, meaning one of you does not want to divorce, and this will lead to a party being unable to effectively negotiate an amicable resolution, chances are the divorce mediation process will not be effective for you. Divorce mediation is for couples who agree they must divorce and who want help crafting child custody arrangements, support, and property distribution. Divorce mediation is not for couples who are still struggling with the issues leading to one of them wanting a divorce.
Do You Know What Your Assets and Debts Are?
Having a clear picture of your marital financial situation and being able to discuss it is essential for success in your divorce mediation sessions. If only one of you handles the finances and is reluctant or refuses to disclose your financial situation to the other, divorce mediation will not work.
Are You Able to Communicate?
Understandably, those in the throes of divorce may still feel emotional about the issues that led to their divorce. If you are able to put those issues aside in favor of collaborating to make the divorce process go as smoothly as possible, divorce mediation may help you.
Another benefit to putting your emotions aside and communicating with your spouse is you craft solutions to child support, custody, and property distribution yourselves rather than letting a judge decide.
Are You Both Able to Be Flexible?
Divorce mediation is a collaborative process. Every family has their unique needs and requirements, and only you and your spouse fully understand what those are. If you are open to the guidance of your divorce mediator, you and your spouse craft solutions to the issues arising from your divorce neither of you would have been able to come up with on your own. However, if you are not open to compromise, divorce mediation will not work for you.
Instances When Divorce Mediation is Not Appropriate
1. When One Spouse Won’t Reveal Their Assets
If one of you is hiding marital assets or wasting marital assets, divorce mediation will not work. Divorce mediation requires openness and trust.
2. When One Spouse Is a Bully
There are marriages where there is an imbalance of power. In these situations it is rare divorce mediation can work, even with the help and guidance of a skilled divorce mediator.
If There Is a History of Domestic Violence
A victim of domestic violence may be further traumatized by having to sit across the table from their abuser in divorce mediation.
If You Aren’t Able to Advocate for Yourself
If you have been bullied or abused by your spouse, you may not have the ability to speak up for yourself and what you need from your divorce. In these circumstances, you may want a divorce lawyer to advocate for you.
3. When You Aren’t Communicating
If you and your spouse are simply not speaking with one another, there is no reason to believe you will be able to communicate during divorce mediation. Divorce mediation requires both spouses to engage and collaborate on solutions for their family, and some couples are too angry or resentful to commit to that process.
4. When One Spouse Doesn’t Want to Divorce
If you want a divorce but your spouse does not, there are marital issues to work out before you can get to the issues arising from divorce. Divorce mediation is not couples therapy.
5. When You Have Secrets That Impact Your Case
If one of you has a secret that might impact child support payments, custody arrangements, or marital property distribution and you are not willing to disclose that secret, divorce mediation is not for you. These types of secrets may include family money, a child from another union, substance abuse or addiction, and serious illness, among others. Divorce mediation requires full disclosure of both spouses to be effective.
6. When You Don’t Need Help Negotiating Assets for Your Divorce
If you both work, you do not have children, and you have few marital assets, you may not need to engage in divorce mediation.You may just need an attorney to put your agreement in writing.
Couples having no issues or disagreements arising from their divorce are rare, however. Divorce mediation helps with every type of disagreement, from who pays the joint credit card to who keeps the family cat.
7. When You Want the Other Spouse to Lose
Last, and most unfortunate, is when one spouse is so angry or resentful that they do not want the other to get anything they want out of the divorce. The angry spouse has no flexibility and fights tooth and nail during divorce mediation rather than collaborate. Unless the divorce mediator can convince the angry spouse of the benefits of divorce mediation for them and their entire family, divorce mediation will not work under these circumstances.
Speak With a Divorce Lawyer At Schwartz, Fox & Saltzman Today
Whether you are considering divorce mediation or not, the Philadelphia divorce lawyers at Schwartz, Fox & Saltzman can help you get the best result for your family. Call us today to discuss your case.