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Recognizing when mediation isn't working

No matter the reason for your marriage breakup, you had hopes of maintaining a civil relationship after the divorce. Perhaps you have children to consider or you simply want to avoid the emotional turmoil a litigated divorce can bring.

To meet your goals, you suggested mediation to resolve the issues and arrive at a cordial settlement. Although your spouse initially agreed to mediation, you may be worried that he or she did not make the agreement in good faith. When you are in the thick of things, it may be difficult to tell if mediation is going well, but there are signs to look for that may indicate it is time to abandon mediation and get ready for court.

Compromise is key

Some who enter mediation have the misconception that it will be a quiet discussion where both parties peacefully reach agreements. This is seldom the case, so if you and your spouse find yourself raising your voices during the process, that doesn't necessarily mean mediation is failing. A skilled mediator can keep the discussions focused on the issues instead of allowing them to become personal attacks, which are unproductive.

Additionally, it is easy to feel like mediation isn't working if you aren't attaining every goal you set for yourself. Compromise is the key to alternative dispute resolution, so you should expect to give in on some issues. However, if any of the following happen during the process, you may want to step back and re-evaluate your decision to mediate:

  • Your former spouse continually takes the discussion off topic to avoid dealing with the important issues.
  • Your spouse keeps bringing up the same topics over and over.
  • Your spouse will not refrain from personal attacks, accusations or name-calling.
  • The mediation meeting has gone on for a few hours without resolving any of the critical issues.
  • Your former partner is unwilling to bend on any issue, and you are the only one making compromises.

If your spouse digs in on every issue, your discussions will quickly reach an impasse. Your mediator may suggest bringing that session to an end and trying again another day. However, if you experience more of the same, it may be time to think about a new direction. If you are considering mediation for your divorce, you will want a Georgia attorney who understands the process and is ready to take the necessary steps to help you meet your goals if mediation breaks down.

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Gentry Law Firm LLC
506 Roswell Street NE
Suite 240
Marietta, GA 30060

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