When it comes to divorce mediation in Los Angeles, child custody, child support, and other issues, divorce mediation (DM) is an excellent alternative to consider. It is the stage on which a divorced couple attempts to resolve problems such as asset partition, parental obligations, and child support.
Instead of going to court to settle a conflict, parties may choose to employ mediation as a less stressful and more affordable alternative. They hire a divorce lawyer who helps them find common ground, come up with practical solutions, and settle their differences.
Before deciding to mediate divorce or go for traditional litigation, there are many factors you need to consider. Although divorce mediation can have significant benefits, it may not be appropriate for all situations. People should know about mediation and not feel pressured to use it, but they should not have to use it.
Here are the situations when divorce mediation is not recommended.
High-Conflict Marital Relations
People who are going through a high-conflict divorce may want to consider mediation as a means of settling their disagreements. For mediation to be effective, both parties must be willing to negotiate a divorce in good faith. If a couple cannot set their differences aside long enough to discuss them, divorce mediation will have little chance of succeeding in addressing their problems. If mediation doesn’t work, the problem may have to be solved through court.
Mediation must be voluntary and open to both sides. They should also be able to make decisions independently without being intimidated or forced to. If your spouse has ever physically, financially, or psychologically abused you, mediation is not the best way for you to get back together.
Abuse is all about control and power. Domestic violence can make it difficult to express your feelings, be confident in your choices and speak up in mediation. If one spouse has always had all the influence in a marriage, it is more likely that they will use mediation to obtain what they want.
An imbalance of power is the main ingredient of an abusive relationship. To maintain control and management over their victim, an abusive spouse might resort to physical violence, threats, intimidation, gaslighting, and other tactics. Domestic violence doesn’t just include physical abuse. It can consist of financial, verbal, or emotional abuse, as well as sexual abuse. Divorce mediation is not recommended if a spouse is trying to leave an abusive marriage. The imbalance of power makes it virtually impossible for a collaborative mediation process.
Problems with Mental Illness or Substance Abuse
Mediation is not recommended if one party has a mental disability or has been influenced by illegal substances that affect decision-making or has a problem with substance abuse. It is because it is impossible to know if the person can reason well or understand the options.
One failing marriage is not the same as another. Mediating divorce requires that couples consider their past and present relationships, as well as their emotions. One couple might agree to each other’s wishes and show little emotion. However, another couple may feel too emotional and upset to participate in mediation. The couple can determine where they fall on the spectrum to decide if mediation might be right for them.
Special Note: A process known as “shuttle mediation” is where the parties are separated, and the mediator moves around between them, mediating the dispute without ever seeing the other.
Waste of Time and Money
Mediation can save time and money in some cases, but it is not always the best option. The outcome of mediation will be favorable if both parties are open to the process. However, if either spouse is unwilling to be honest, and open to compromise, it can fail—failure to mediate means that the next step is litigation.
Both couples are responsible for finding and paying for their divorce counsel and court costs. It implies that the discovery process must begin from the outset if any information is to be utilized in court. As a result of mediation, both parties are left with a financial cost and a wasted effort.
The financial situation of each spouse will play a significant role in determining the terms of a divorce. They need to be honest with each other during mediation so that they can come up with a fair and reasonable deal.
This information is also used by the court to determine child support payments. If one spouse hides assets, underreports income, exaggerates debts, or tells a lie about their finances during mediation, the settlement they reach will be based on false facts.
The court’s formality may be advantageous when it comes to power imbalances, truth, justice, and proof. Lawyers can make witnesses testify or give evidence in court, but mediators can’t make people tell the truth.
When it comes to protecting oneself from an abusive or frightening partner, court processes are much more effective than mediation. As a result, this may help ensure that the less active spouse does not accept less than they are entitled to and miss out on a portion of their assets.
No Legal Advice
Even though mediators may be lawyers, they are not permitted to provide legal advice to any party. They have to act as neutral third parties and can’t talk to either party about the divorce except during mediation sessions, which is when they meet.
Divorce mediation is an excellent alternative to court, but it isn’t always a good idea. An experienced divorce family lawyer can advise you on the benefits of mediation while also fighting for your rights at every stage of the divorce process. The mediation process is non-binding. As a result, any agreement made must be accepted by both parties for the settlement to be valid. Therefore, it’s vital to recognize that.
The Law Offices of Leon F. Bennett has a divorce lawyer who can help you determine if mediation is right for you. If you cannot resolve your divorce case through mediation, our legal help can provide the best legal support for your rights. Contact us now to learn more.