Mediation is a useful alternative to a litigated divorce, especially for parents who are trying to preserve a working relationship for their children's sake or couples who hope to preserve a friendship after their divorce.
But it isn't right for everybody. There are times when mediation is likely to be an exercise in frustration -- or even utterly counterproductive to your needs.
When is it generally wiser to skip mediation in favor of traditional litigation? Whenever:
Your spouse is an addict or an alcoholic
Mediation requires consistent effort and clear input from both parties -- and that's often not possible when a spouse is suffering from the highs and lows associated with addiction or alcoholism. In addition, you may have significant custody issues that aren't likely to be resolved in mediation.
You're physically or emotionally afraid of your spouse
If you've been the victim of actual violence, or your spouse has threatened you with assault, that makes it unsafe for you to enter into a mediation session (and you should probably seek a protective order).
If your spouse has been emotionally abusive to the point where you no longer feel able to speak up and address your wants and needs, mediation would likely deprive you of a fair shake in the divorce. Both sides have to be reasonably assertive and honest about their goals during mediation in order for it to work.
3. You think your spouse is hiding something important.
By "important" we mean anything that could affect the disposition of the marital assets -- like income or property that your spouse is keeping secret. Mediation requires honesty from both parties and won't be useful if one spouse is determined to cheat the other.
Our office can work with you for the best possible outcome of your case through mediation -- or via a traditional, litigated divorce when it is the better option.