Divorce mediation is often considered a more amicable and cost-effective alternative to traditional litigation. However, sometimes mediation sessions aren’t successful, and couples must navigate their next steps. If you’re in this situation, read on for some guidance and advice.
First, it’s essential to understand why mediation may have failed. There could be several reasons, such as communication breakdown, simple incompatibility, or one party refusing to compromise. Whatever the reason, it’s crucial not to blame yourself or the mediation process. Even though mediation didn’t work, it may still have provided you with valuable insights into what’s important to you and what you’re willing to fight for.
Now that mediation has failed, consider the following next steps:
1. Seek legal advice
If you haven’t already, it’s time to seek legal advice. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you understand your legal rights, obligations, and options. There may be some non-negotiables that you need to fight for, and a lawyer can help you identify and prioritize them.
2. Consider litigation
If mediation has failed, litigation may be the next logical step. Litigation can be time-consuming, expensive, and emotionally draining, but it may also be the only way to resolve some issues. Your lawyer can file the necessary paperwork and represent you in court. If you’re particularly concerned about the cost, you may want to consider a collaborative divorce, where both parties agree to negotiate in good faith and avoid the courtroom.
3. Attend individual therapy
Divorce, even a failed mediation, can take a toll on your emotional well-being. Attending individual therapy can help you process your feelings, reduce stress and anxiety, and develop coping strategies. Therapy can also help you communicate better with your ex-spouse and work through any ongoing conflicts.
4. Create a co-parenting plan
If you have children, the next step is to create a co-parenting plan. This plan should outline how you and your ex-spouse will share parenting responsibilities, including decision-making, visitation, and child support. Your lawyer can help you draft a formal agreement, but it’s also essential to communicate openly and honestly with your ex-spouse about what you both want and what’s best for your children.
5. Keep the lines of communication open
Even though mediation may have failed, communication is still crucial. Keeping the lines of communication open can help you avoid misunderstandings and conflict. A mediator can still help you and your ex-spouse communicate and negotiate, even if the mediation process itself isn’t successful.
Divorce mediation doesn’t always work, but it’s not a failure if it doesn’t. Sometimes it’s necessary to move on to litigation, and sometimes it’s better for both parties to and focus on co-parenting. No matter what happens, it’s essential to seek legal advice, attend therapy, and keep the lines of communication open. You may not have gotten the result you wanted, but you can still move forward and create a brighter future for yourself and your children.