What Happens if Divorce Mediation Is Unsuccessful?
Mediation can be a great tool to assist people going through a divorce, but it does not always result in an agreement. When you’re going through a painful divorce mediation process, the last thing you want to do is start all over again because you couldn’t agree on terms. But when it happens, it’s usually due to strong emotions such as anger and an unwillingness to compromise. However, a failed mediation isn’t always a complete loss. You can take the lessons learned to settle the divorce quickly going forward. What you do next matters greatly and can mean the difference between an amicable separation and an all-out court battle.
If you want to be done with this painful stage of your life as fast as possible, you’ll need a divorce lawyer you can trust. An experienced divorce attorney from your area will help you negotiate favorable terms, reduce legal exposure (such as debt and child custody), and guide you through every stage of the process.
Evaluate Why the Divorce Mediation Failed
The first step to a failed divorce mediation is to evaluate the process and understand why you couldn’t reach an agreement in the first place. Although it’s painful and extremely frustrating, especially when the other party is uncooperative, the lessons learned are vital.
Even though all information disclosed during mediation is not admissible in divorce court, you now know exactly what your ex-spouse wants.
Write down their argument and its most important points to find out what you can do to ultimately reach a settlement on which you both agree. Why? Because even after divorce mediation fails, there are other friendly, less combative, and less expensive ways to settle the divorce agreement without going to court.
At this point, you’ll need a family lawyer by your side to help you evaluate your options. An experienced attorney might advise that litigation is the only option if the other party is unwilling to cooperate or when issues such as abuse and violence rule out negotiation.
If both of you are still willing to try other options, a divorce lawyer will assess your situation and advice on the next step.
What to do After Failed Divorce Negotiations?
After carefully assessing the situation, your lawyer can recommend any of the following options to help you settle agreeably.
Attempt another round of mediation.
Divorce mediation is rarely a single-stage process. Whether the mediation was voluntary or ordered by the court, you can usually give it another go. The first session reveals where the issues are, while a subsequent round of mediation helps you fully agree on the terms of your divorce. Plus, a second session gives each party a chance to “cool off,” so that they resume settlement discussions.
When both parties are willing to settle without going to court, a solution can usually be found. The important thing is to take some time for emotions to cool down. You can also opt to change the mediator if you and your spouse agree..
Negotiation and collaborative divorce.
If you were able to agree on most points during the mediation and only a few remain, your lawyer can craft a custom solution to help resolve those final issues.. Your lawyer and the other party’s lawyer will try to clear up the remaining issues through informal negotiations and attempt to reach an agreement.
This often works where the points of contention are maintenance (aka alimony), division of assets and liabilities, and child custody.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if we couldn’t agree on anything during mediation?
If your mediation was court-ordered and you failed to reach an agreement, that’s okay. You’re only required to attend and can still explore other conflict resolution avenues after that. You can always revisit mediation if the opportunity presents itself, but now you and your attorney know that you
Is divorce mediation a good option for us?
Divorce mediation is a good option for partners who are willing to negotiate and compromise to reach an amicable solution. It is far less stressful, less expensive, and proceeds faster than litigation.
While mediation lets you maintain control during the separation, it will not work if any of you is not willing to cooperate and listen to the other party.
Does Mediation Cost Less Than a Trial Divorce?
Experts estimate that the average divorce costs about $15,000, with the bulk of the money going towards attorney fees, court costs, and fees for financial and tax advisors. It is always advisable to try other channels first before going to trial for divorce.
In comparison, divorce mediation in Illinois can lead to a settlement outside of court, and typically costs anywhere between $2,000 and $8,000.
Consult a family lawyer you trust as early as possible to discuss all of your options.