California couples who are realizing their relationships may be over have several options for ending their marriages. Often couples prefer to take the less adversarial road and use mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution. Through these methods, they can decide common divorce issues such as child custody, asset division and support matters. However, settlement is not always possible, and mediation can quickly break down.
It is important for spouses to recognize the difference between when mediation is not working and when they are not getting their way on every issue. Negotiation requires compromise, and it is often necessary to let go of some demands to make others work. However, some of the following may be indications that the mediation process is not going to end well and that taking the divorce to court may be the more appropriate options, including:
- Every discussion ends in personal attacks or accusations.
- One partner is set on sabotaging the process.
- One partner feels powerless, as in marriages involving abuse.
- After several hours of mediation, the former partners have not resolved any issues.
- Every topic of discussion returns to the same issues without reaching any agreements.
- The partners cannot make progress even after stepping away or coming back for multiple sessions.
Fortunately, if one partner realizes mediation is not working, he or she has the option of taking the divorce to court. While this may not have been the first choice, it may be the most effective way to obtain a fair resolution and to protect one’s interests. When a divorce turns contentious, it is wise to have the advocacy of strong and experience legal counsel.