Mediation can provide many benefits for divorcing couples. However, if your spouse is not cooperating with the process, you might feel like it will not succeed. However there are things you can do to encourage your spouse to participate.
Organizing and Agreeing on Priorities
The mediation process encourages divorcing spouses to work together to resolve their issues. Each spouse might work with their divorce lawyer to prepare for the sessions. However, for mediation to work, each spouse must be willing to engage in amicable communication. If your spouse is reluctant to do their part, you might need to organize the priorities for your divorce so you can present these to them in the hopes that they will agree with them. You might look at what you both want out of and after the divorce and begin there. This might include plans for your family, your post-divorce relationship and your finances.
Keeping the Focus on the Family
If you have children, you will probably both be very concerned about how the divorce will affect them. The process you choose can have an important role in this. A court battle, which is often the result of a high-conflict relationship between the parents, can become lengthy and drawn out, with bitter recriminations between the parties. However, you might help your spouse to get on board with the mediation process by reminding them that this might protect the children from some of the negative effects of divorce. Some things you might want to say include:
- Remembering that you both want to protect the children’s best interests
- Creating a parenting plan that works for everyone in the family
- Setting up a system of communication that minimizes conflict between the parents
Focusing on the Financial Impact of Divorce
Another way to gain your spouse’s cooperation with the mediation process is by discussing the financial impact of the divorce on both of you. If you cannot resolve your issues during the mediation process and you end up going to court, you are risking a longer, more expensive path. There are many costs associated with divorce, such as your lawyer, court costs and any other fees necessary as you work with different professionals to build your case. Additionally, you will also lose some of the control you have over the situation. If you both cooperate with your mediator to resolve your issues, you have a voice in the results. The process itself can be faster, potentially costing you less on lawyer fees, fewer trips to the court and saving you money on court fees.
Keeping it Amicable
If you want your spouse to participate willingly in mediation, you might want to work on your relationship, particularly if in the past you both found yourself fighting often. While it might take effort, you should approach your spouse amicably, letting them know that you are ready to hear their case and understand what they want from the divorce, showing them that your goal is not to win but to seek solutions that work for both of you.
Finding the Right Mediator
Finally, not every mediator is right for every case. Once you have managed to work out your communication issues and agree to your priorities for the divorce, you can begin interviewing mediators, seeking to find the one who is also aligned with your priorities. Your ideal mediator should have experience working with couples in your situation, where one might be reluctant about the process. They should be willing to help guide the couple to communicate so they can find fair, balanced solutions to their issues.
Even during the mediation process, you can benefit from the support of a divorce lawyer who can help you organize your case, prepare for negotiation sessions with your spouse and the mediator and explain how the laws regarding divorce work. You can call The Law Office of Joanne Kleiner in Jenkinton at 215-886-1266 for a consultation and begin preparing for the mediation process.