This is a question that comes up fairly often. What if your spouse does not want to go to divorce mediation? What can you do in a situation like that? Well, first of all, mediation is voluntary, and no one can be forced to enter into this process. So, if your spouse is absolutely dead set against mediating, then you will probably need to settle your divorce in an alternative way.
All that said, there are a lot of situations in which a spouse might say “no” to divorce mediation at first but later they change their minds. Sometimes, a resistant spouse will say “no” to mediation simply because they are trying to prevent the divorce from happening at all. Oftentimes, one spouse has known for some time that the marriage is over, but the idea of getting a divorce catches the other spouse by surprise. In instances like this, it might take a while for that spouse to come to accept the fact that the divorce is really happening.
In New Jersey and in most other states, it only takes one person who wants to get divorced for it to happen. And in these situations, the spouse who wants the divorce will usually go to an attorney and have the other one served. At that point, reality might start to sink in, and the resistant spouse might start to open up to the idea of mediation.
It is important to understand that mediation is a flexible process, and it can occur at any point. Couples can come to mediation at the start of a divorce before they’ve seen an attorney, and a lot of couples choose not to meet with attorneys at all (when they are mediating their divorce), the choice is theirs. They can also initiate mediation at any time throughout the the process, even if they already have attorneys and one party has been served.
Why Would a Resistant Spouse Want to Come to Mediation?
You might be thinking that divorce mediation is a good idea, but you will never be able to convince your spouse to go for this option. But as we touched on earlier, resistant spouses often start to see things differently when they realize that the divorce is really happening. Trust me, when both spouses have already hired attorneys and they have an expensive, time-consuming, and emotionally grueling court proceeding ahead of them, a lot of divorcing couples become much more open to alternatives.
Divorce mediation is not only far more affordable than going through litigation, this process provides a number of other benefits as well:
- Mediation is done on your own timetable, rather than court hearings that often need to be scheduled several months in advance.
- Mediation is conducted in a cooperative rather than combative setting where the participants are encouraged to work together on their divorce settlement. This makes it more likely that you and your spouse will come out of the process with an acceptable agreement and a healthier relationship.
- Everything that is discussed in mediation is kept private and confidential and never becomes part of the public court record. This allows participants to discuss their issues more freely knowing that what is said stays between them.
- Mediation allows spouses to innovate and come up with more creative settlements that are designed to address their own specific circumstances. This type of outcome is far less likely in a court setting.
- Because the process is entirely voluntary, participants are more likely to take ownership of the divorce settlement that they have created and adhere to its terms and conditions which makes their post divorce relationship proceed with less conflict.
Contact AMS to Learn More About Divorce Mediation
If you want to find out more about divorce mediation, how it can help you, and how to get your spouse to agree to it, AMS is here to answer any questions you may have. Call us today at (856) 669-7172 or message us online to set up a free consultation with our experienced divorce and family law mediator.