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What’s the Next Step if Divorce Mediation Doesn’t Work?

Spouses couple signing decree papers getting divorced in lawyers office

Mediation can be an excellent way to resolve a divorce without resorting to lengthy court battles. The mediation process can be more streamlined, less expensive, and less contentious, resulting in a settlement agreeable to both sides. Unfortunately, divorces are complicated and often emotionally-charged, and even if you enter with the best of intentions, mediation does not always work. If your California divorce mediation has hit a stand-still, what should you do next? A dedicated Claremont divorce attorney can help.

Take a break, try again

Just because mediation fails the first time does not mean that it will never work. Sometimes, the second or third time’s the charm. If the parties have a few months to let their emotions cool, they may be able to reenter mediation more open to compromise. It is often the case that sitting down for a couple of mediation sessions merely gets the ball rolling, and the parties need some time to reflect before realizing where they are willing to find a middle ground. The parties can meet again at any time before a judge issues a final judgment if they realize they are able to compromise.
Alternatively, the parties may feel that the mediator they retained was not doing enough to facilitate discussion or resolve disputes. It is perfectly acceptable to request a new mediator; if you find one better suited to your circumstances and your needs, you may find that mediation works the next time around.

Collaborative divorce may still be an option

Even if divorce mediation fails, you may not have to immediately resort to battling it out in court. We previously discussed the advantages and disadvantages of collaborative divorce, a form of alternative dispute resolution in which the parties retain qualified professionals to negotiate and resolve issues relating to alimony, property division, child custody, etc. The parties enter the collaborative divorce process by signing a contract agreeing that they will not go to court unless the collaborative process fails to reach a settlement, and that the negotiations held during the process will be kept privileged. Collaborative divorce may provide the extra support and expertise that was missing during the mediation process that may carry the parties into reaching a full settlement.

However, as we mentioned, if collaborative divorce fails, you will likely have to restart your divorce from where you were prior to beginning the process. Remember that the information obtained during the collaborative divorce process likely cannot be used in court. Additionally, if you do go to court, you will have to retain a new attorney.

If all else fails, go to court

Assuming alternative dispute resolution methods have failed you, your next step is to go to court. The formal adversarial process of collecting evidence, retaining experts, and arguing motions may motivate the parties to agree on a settlement. The vast majority of divorces settle before actually reaching trial, but, if no settlement is reached, conducting a full trial is a last resort. Unfortunately, a trial can be the most time-consuming and expensive route to resolving insurmountable disagreements. At that point it will be up to the judge to make the final decision on all contested matters.

Get Help from Seasoned, Talented and Effective Claremont Divorce Mediation Attorneys

For experienced and knowledgeable legal help with a California family law matter or Los Angeles area divorce, contact the Claremont offices of Blasser Law at 877-927-2181.

Blasser Law

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445 West Foothill Blvd., Suite 108
Claremont, CA 91711

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