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What Should I Do if My Spouse Is Not Cooperating During Mediation?


Divorce mediation works best if both parties are
equally invested in achieving an agreement outside of the courtroom.

This requires some degree of cooperation on the part of each spouse. However, in some cases, this cooperation is hard to come by, especially if there has been a significant breakdown in communication and one spouse simply refuses to be cordial with the other.

Divorce mediators are highly skilled at creating a positive environment for constructive discussions and guiding people toward agreements, even in difficult situations. You should do everything you can to make a good faith effort at communicating with your spouse. Both of you should focus on your children first and foremost, and remain civil.

However, in some cases, you might simply need to abandon the mediation process and head to the courtroom. Here are a few examples of such situations.

Your spouse is attempting to intimidate you

When one spouse is overly vindictive, purposefully intimidating or making any types of thinly veiled threats, it is generally a sign that the mediation process is not going to work. You should never allow yourself to be bullied into accepting a divorce agreement that simply does not work for you, and especially not one that you believe is not in the best interest of your children. Don’t feel like the responsibility is solely on you to keep the peace—this is not a time to concede simply to avoid angering your spouse.

Your spouse is extremely unreliable

Sometimes mediation won’t work simply because your spouse doesn’t show up. This could be because he or she is stalling in hopes you will change your mind, or perhaps he or she is just simply unreliable. In this case, going to court could be the better option, as there are much harsher consequences for failing to attend a court hearing than there are for failing to attend a mediation session.

You and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement

If you are unable to reach an agreement on specific issues, whether it’s because you are your spouse simply can’t agree or he or she is just not willing to compromise, you might decide it is worthwhile to go to court over an issue you feel strongly about.

The issues that most commonly cause people to go to court are those involving children (child custody, visitation and child support), but just about any issue could be worth fighting for depending on the circumstances. Talk to your attorney about the pros and cons of going to court in these types of situations before you decide to abandon the mediation process.

To learn more about how to get through mediation with an uncooperative spouse, work with a knowledgeable Fresno and San Diego divorce lawyer at The Law Office of Rebecca Medina.

Rebecca MedinaAbout the Author: Rebecca Medina

Rebecca Medina is an experienced Family Law attorney, mediator and Collaborative Divorce Lawyer serving the Fresno and San Diego areas. She handles cases ranging from complex divorce matters to child custody, spousal support, prenuptial/postnuptial agreements, QDROs and uncontested divorce cases. She was rated “Clients’ Choice” by Avvo.

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