When you and your spouse decided to divorce, you may have had high hopes for a peaceful settlement. More couples are finding that alternative dispute resolution such as mediation leaves them with a more positive outcome since they work out an agreement together. In some cases, disputing couples develop better communication skills during mediation that allow them to interact more effectively after their divorce, especially in matters related to the children.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. It is also common for negotiations to break down in California, especially if your mediator is poorly trained or inexperienced. If you head into negotiations without knowing what to expect, you may find yourself making little progress, and this can be frustrating.
Why is mediation stalling?
Each divorce has its own unique factors, so it is difficult to say how long mediation may take. Some couples may reach their agreements in one session while others may take several sessions, each lasting a few hours over the course of months. However, soon into the negotiations, you may be able to tell when things are going badly and that you may not have the civil and cooperative divorce for which you had hoped. Some signs that mediation is not working may include the following:
- You are hours into your session and have not come to an agreement on a single issue.
- You keep going around and around the same issues without reaching a conclusion.
- The topic of discussion keeps going off track.
- Your spouse is using the time to attack you or make accusations against you.
- Your spouse wants to win instead of looking for ways to compromise.
You may be able to redirect the conversation simply by taking a break to calm down and refocus, or you may need to stop for the day and try again another time. As difficult as it may be to realize, if mediation is unsuccessful, you may end up with a judge making these delicate decisions for you. On the other hand, you should not allow that fear to cause you to make unwise sacrifices just for the sake of avoiding divorce court.
One way to improve the chances that you will not surrender important rights during your divorce is to approach it with a skilled attorney at your side. Whether you go through mediation or litigation, having legal advice can make a difference in the outcome. You can begin by reaching out for answers to your questions.