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What Can You Do If Divorce Mediation Doesn’t Work?

No mediator can force a compromise or settlement on a couple in divorce mediation. Mediators can recommend ideas to bring the parties together on a solution, but there is no guarantee of success.

This means that divorce mediations are sometimes unsuccessful. This can be true even when both parties engage in mediation with the best intentions and work toward a settlement with an experienced mediator.

What are your options after an unsuccessful mediation? Missouri family law attorney Kirk C. Strange lays them out in a recent article.

1- The parties can take a break and then try mediation a second time. If there are no truly urgent issues that need to be resolved, then a break and another attempt at mediation may be wise.

2- Try again with a different mediator. Different mediators have different styles and skills. A different approach might make for a successful mediation the second time around.

3- The parties can agree to arbitrate instead of mediate. Unlike a mediator, an arbitrator can impose a decision that is binding on the parties. Strange advises caution, however, because parties waive most of their appeal rights in an arbitration.

4- Using attorneys who take a collaborative approach might be an option. This approach emphasizes working together cooperatively and can be particularly beneficial when children’s issues are involved.

5- The parties may need to go to court to get their issues resolved. Divorce litigation can be expensive and stressful, but it is the option of last resort when a settlement cannot be reached.

Strange advises that mediation is very often worth the effort, and that mediation saves time and reduces the costs of attorneys’ fees. But mediation is not always successful and parties should consider their next steps

Review the full article for additional detail on each of these options.

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