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Mediation is not always best for every divorce

Divorce is often a time of upheaval and high emotion. As your marriage comes to an end, you have many decisions to make, and you want to be certain that your choices allow you to move into your post-divorce life with as little stress as possible.

For many California couples, this means choosing an alternative to the traditional litigated divorce, such as collaboration or mediation. However, these forms of dispute resolution are not always ideal for every divorcing couple.

Why would I choose litigation?

If you are considering the best option for your divorce, it is often a good first step to seek advice from an unbiased third party who can give you an unemotional perspective. You would benefit from learning the long-term and legal ramifications of each divorce option before making your decision. Deciding to skip mediation and head straight for litigated divorce is how many spouses react when any of the following situations exist:

  • You are not willing to cooperate: If your marriage ended because of betrayal or misconduct, a civil and calmly mediated divorce may not be what you want.
  • Your ex is making unreasonable demands: You and your spouse may have tried mediation, but your spouse's refusal to negotiate terms makes it impossible to continue.
  • You want the public to know the truth about your spouse: If your misbehaving spouse is a well-respected figure in your community, church or local government, you may want the details of your divorce to be part of public record, which they wouldn't be through mediation.
  • Your spouse has more power: If you have a disadvantage, you may be easily intimidated through mediation where you will be expected to speak up for what you hope to achieve in a settlement.
  • Your marriage was abusive: Similar to an imbalance of power, if you are the victim of your spouse's abuse, it may be unsafe and futile to sit at a table and try to reach a reasonable agreement.

If you believe your spouse is hiding money or dissipating assets, you may be unable to achieve a fair division of property through mediation. In a courtroom, the judge has authority a mediator does not to require your spouse to give a full disclosure of assets.

No matter how you decide to end your marriage, you will want to be certain you have solid advice and access to every resource necessary to make a fresh start. Discussing your options with an attorney will provide you with a better idea of what may work best for you circumstances.

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