At the time of tying the knot, no couple expects that they will divorce in the future. The unfortunate truth, however, is that not all marriages last. Sometimes, they end bitterly which gives rise to feelings of acrimony between the couple.
This is when fairness goes out the window and leaves little room for agreements on dividing assets, providing spousal/child support, and determining children’s custody, among other matters.
Couples who are able to put these bitter feelings aside and negotiate amicably can dissolve their marriage through mediation. However, mediation is not right for every divorcing couple.
Wondering if you should go for divorce mediation or hire a divorce lawyer? Our experienced St. Louis divorce mediation attorney reveals a few signs that mean you should skip mediation and take your spouse to court.
1. There Is No Respect
Divorce can give rise to feelings of extreme umbrage, and may sometimes even lead to disrespect among spouses. The truth is, not all couples who separate wish each other well. Mediation works when basic respect continues to exist between the couple. But even if one spouse has deep-rooted resentment towards and wants to intentionally inflict a financial and/or emotional wound on the other, it is best to work with a skilled divorce attorney and take the matter to court.
2. Domestic Violence Is Involved
Mediation can work only when both spouses see each other as equals and have the same amount of negotiating power. However, if one partner has physically, mentally or sexually abused the other, the victim can feel subjugated and threatened for their safety. Further, the victim will never feel safe around the abusive spouse and find it extremely difficult to be assertive enough to negotiate a truly fair deal. In such cases, mediation can prove to be highly ineffective. The only and the best way to take a stand will be with the help of a divorce lawyer who will ensure the safety of the victimized spouse while fighting for their rights.
3. Differences in Perception of Reality
A lot of people, even mature grown-up adults, believe that their version of the reality is the only true and valid version, and others are deeply mistaken in their points of view. When this happens in a marriage, where one spouse completely refutes the idea of the other spouse also having a point of view which is as valid as theirs, it can spell doom. Mediation cannot work in such cases as one spouse will have already reckoned the other spouse as the one responsible for the end of their marriage, and will proceed accordingly. Resolving the divorce case in court will be more helpful.
4. There Is a Reluctance to Make Compromises
Mediation works on the principle of couples finding common ground and making certain compromises to arrive at mutually-agreeable decisions for the benefit of both parties. But if either spouse stubbornly believes that they should get the lion’s share of the marital assets and compensation, then mediation will certainly fail. To get a fair deal, it is a better idea to hire a divorce attorney instead of trying for mediation.
5. Wealth and Assets Are Being Concealed
Among the key requirements for mediation to proceed successfully are transparency and honesty. Both parties are required to truthfully disclose all their financial details, which include all bank accounts, overseas accounts, cash reserves, retirement funds, pension, property, debts, and more. Like a court judge/jury, the mediator cannot demand the complete disclosure of assets by the parties. If one partner suspects the other partner of hiding these details or falsifying the numbers, it is advisable to approach the court and get a legal order for disclosure of assets.
6. One Spouse Wants to Wash Dirty Linen in Public
Apart from lowered stress and costs, mediation offers a great deal of privacy when it comes to case-related proceedings and discussions. If one spouse, however, wants to subject the case and its proceedings to public scrutiny with an aim to present a distorted view of the other spouse, the latter will do well to engage the services of a skilled divorce lawyer rather than opt for mediation.
7. There Is Too Much Animosity
Mediation cannot be successful if feelings of anger, frustration, and hurt are involved. These emotions generally run high when one spouse has been cheated on or is being threatened by the other spouse. Feelings of acrimony can destroy every chance of dispute resolution through mediation and seeking the court’s assistance can prove to be fruitful.
Get Qualified Advice from an Experienced Professional
Divorce is a trying situation and comes with its own set of complex emotional issues. On top of that, those who haven’t been to court before are bound to feel unnerved and apprehensive at the prospects of having to do so for the divorce case. It is, therefore, best to work with a skilled and experienced attorney, who can show the right path for dissolving an unhappy marriage and provide sound guidance along the way.
A divorce lawyer will help by:
- Apprising the client about what to expect at every step of the divorce proceedings
- Familiarizing the client with the different options available
- Handling all communication with the client’s soon-to-be-ex-spouse and/or their lawyer directly
- Explaining the client about legal processes, and estimating the timeframe for the resolution of the case
By outsourcing the intricate case-related work to someone who is well-placed to help can prove to be a wise decision. Only an accomplished lawyer is equipped enough to achieve the best possible outcome for their clients in a divorce case.
Divorcing the person you once thought you’d spend your life with can be devastating and can also bring about feelings of resentment and anger. Mediation does help couples resolve their differences by finding a common goal to work towards, but it isn’t suitable for everyone. This is especially true if the marriage was acrimonious and if there are powerful barriers to mediation. In such cases, it is a better idea to sidestep this process and work with a qualified divorce attorney to fight your case in court.