When done right, mediation can bring great benefits to you and your family:
- It saves you money, as you avoid the costliness associated with trial.
- It saves you time, thanks to avoiding the need to get on the court’s calendar.
- You drive the discussion, ensuring the things you care about most are heard, discussed and settled.
- You maintain control of the outcome, meaning you need not agree to anything you don’t like.
- You ensure positive relationships remain amongst you, your kids and your ex.
But any wrong turn during mediation can mean one or all of these benefits disappear. Here we explore the top reasons behind the fall of mediation and the rise of trial in a family law dispute.
The Top 5 Reasons Family Mediation Fails
Being argumentative. Our clients are often surprised when we tell them that mediation may not save them money. This is due to the fact that many couples cannot maintain a spirit of cooperation, which is at the heart of every mediation session. So when couples refuse to compromise and instead bicker over things, the number of mediation sessions increase, which increases the cost for both mediator fees and attorney fees. And, should the confrontations continue, mediation could fail, leading to court.
Lying. If you tell lies during your mediation session, fail to disclose financial information or give false statements in support of a mediation agreement, you will get caught. The other party and the other party’s attorney will uncover those lies, and then a judge will hear about it. You will lose any bargaining power you may have had.
Getting in between your children and their other parent. Mixing your children into your dispute with your ex will only paint a negative picture of you, which will harm your chances of getting anything you want out of the mediation process. It will also harm your own relationship with your kids. Things are tough enough for everyone at this time. Limit the bad mouthing and encourage your kids to spend their allotted time with their other parent.
Ignoring court orders. If you are required to pay child support or spousal support, you must pay that while in mediation. Failure to do so will lead you right back in front of a judge. Your concerns will no longer have much weight in court, and you’ll face consequences for your failure to follow support orders.
Being abusive. Verbal abuse and physical abuse are signs of a much larger problem in the relationship—one that does not benefit from the mediation process. So whether you yell at the other party, you hit him or her in or outside of the session, or you abuse your children, you will quickly lose any possibility of an outcome in your favor.
Control Your Actions, Control Your Outcome
As long as you stay in control of your actions and you remain open-minded, your mediation can reach a successful conclusion. If you are worried at all about whether you or the other party will remain cooperative throughout the process, discuss it with your family law attorney. Together, you can create a plan that will work best for your situation.