Divorce mediation has become an increasingly popular option in recent years as it offers a more amicable and cost-effective alternative to a traditional divorce. However, sometimes even the most well-intentioned mediation sessions can reach an impasse and fail to reach a settlement between the two parties.
When this happens, it can be frustrating and disheartening for everyone involved. However, it’s important to remember that failure to reach a settlement in divorce mediation doesn’t necessarily mean a fight in court is the only option remaining.
Here are some potential reasons why mediation might not work and what to do in this situation.
1) Limited willingness to compromise
Mediation requires both parties to work together to agree on a settlement. If either party is unwilling to compromise, the process can quickly break down. In some cases, the parties might not be willing to compromise on key issues such as child custody or property division. In these cases, it may be beneficial to take a break from mediation and return to the discussion after some time has passed.
2) Complex financial issues
Dividing marital property and assets can be complex, particularly if there are complex financial issues involved such as determining the value of a business or investments. In these cases, it may be necessary to bring in a financial professional to provide advice and guidance.
3) Power imbalances
In some situations, one spouse may have more power than the other, which means that the mediation process is inherently unequal. This can lead to one party feeling unheard or disregarded, which can cause the process to break down. In these instances, it might be necessary to bring in a neutral third party to help level the playing field.
4) Emotional conflict
Divorce can be an emotionally charged process for both parties, particularly when children are involved. In some cases, the parties might be so emotionally invested in the process that they are unable to come to a settlement agreement. In these cases, it may be necessary to take a break from mediation and allow for some time for emotions to settle down before returning to the discussion.
If mediation fails to bring about a settlement, the parties can still approach the divorce in a non-adversarial way. Collaborative divorce is one alternative to mediation that involves a team of professionals working together to help the parties come to an agreement. The collaborative team includes attorneys, financial professionals, and mental health professionals.
Additionally, parties can approach a traditional litigated divorce with a cooperative mindset by attempting to communicate in a respectful, constructive manner. It’s entirely possible to approach a litigated divorce in a non-adversarial way and reach a settlement that both parties can live with.
In conclusion, divorce mediation can be a valuable tool for resolving disputes in a non-adversarial way. While it may not work out in certain instances, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t mean the end of the road for a cooperative divorce process. There are other options available, and it’s possible to approach a litigated divorce in a non-adversarial way. It might just take some time and extra effort to achieve a resolution that both parties can live with.