Motivating Your Spouse to Agree to Divorce Mediation
Many divorce lawyers advise divorce mediation over the alternatives. Mediation results in an agreement in as many as 80% of all U.S. divorces that go through the process. Mediated divorces are finalized in three to six months on average compared to the two-year average span for litigated divorces, which can cost up to 10 times as much overall.
Identify the Reasons for the Refusal
It can be difficult, but strive to see the refusal through the eyes of your spouse. The most common reason a person refuses mediation is because they do not want to get divorced. If this is your situation, then you may not be ready for mediation and should seek marriage counseling instead.
Recognize That an Angry Spouse May Be a Deal-Breaker
If your spouse is hurt, there may be nothing you can do to change their mind. You can hope that counseling will work, but if you are beyond that point, you may have to shift focus. Also, many divorce lawyers agree that situations involving domestic violence cannot be mediated.
Manage Your Stress and Be Patient
If you move forward with counseling, it is advisable that together you choose someone who is a pro-marriage therapist who will advocate for your marriage. You should also approach this process with an open mind. It is also important that you manage your stress, and be patient. Your spouse likely will come to the table eventually, and it will still be on a shorter timetable than a litigated divorce would require.
Educate Your Spouse on Divorce Mediation
Many people do not know what mediation is. It may be human nature to see divorce as winning and losing. Truth is, there are no winners in a divorce, and mediation concerns mitigating the losses.
The Initial Process
In Pennsylvania, estranged couples can make the initial choice to go through mediation before any divorce paperwork is filed with the court. However, in the converse situation, judges will in many cases order that mediation take place, especially if there are child custody issues involved.
Offer to Pay for the First Mediation Session
You may be able to use that fact to motivate your spouse to go voluntarily. You may also want to offer to pay for the first session. A single mediation session is relatively inexpensive, and it allows your spouse the experience without any sense that they may be taken advantage of.
Recommend Your Spouse Retain an Attorney
Just because you decided to pursue mediation or if it has been ordered by the court does not mean that either of you have to go it alone. You are each entitled to have the assistance of separate family law attorneys to represent your respective interests and, if an agreement is reached, review its terms before it is signed and presented to the court.
Continue the Decoupling Process
Unless counseling has led to a change of heart for you, in which case this is all moot, it is important that you continue the process of decoupling yourself from the marriage. This process, which should be gentle and purposeful, is important on two fronts. It is important for your mental health and preparation for single life, and you may even want to attend individual counseling as this process unfolds. It is also important for your spouse so that they acclimate to the fact the marriage is coming to an end.
Mediate a Successful Divorce
If you are ready to move on from your Pennsylvania marriage but want to do so without bitterness and acrimony, divorce mediation is an excellent way to achieve that. At the Law Office of Joanne E. Kleiner, we have more than 25 years of experience helping couples mediate their divorces and would welcome the opportunity to assist you. Call our office in Jenkintown at 215-886-1266 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with an experienced divorce attorney.