Common Mediation Challenges And How To Resolve Them

Author: Brian James | | Categories: co mediation , divorce mediation , marital mediation , mediation training


When it comes to family disputes or filing for divorce, mediation is often the first option the legal system would suggest. This is because mediation is a more private solution that facilitates a guided negotiation between the parties involved. It is guaranteed to save money, reduce the load on civil courts, and leave both parties in a better state of mind in the end.

Unfortunately, due to a lack of understanding of the mediation process, many people are opposed to exploring this option. In fact, we often come across cases where one person in a dispute is willing to try mediation to sort out their issues, but the other party may refuse. To help you prepare for circumstances like these, here are three common mediation challenges and how best to resolve them.

1. I cannot get my spouse to consider mediation for our divorce.
We often hear this from potential clients. In such a situation, one of the first things we do is make sure the client’s case is appropriate for mediation, and once this is confirmed, we find out why their spouse is not interested in mediation. Most of the time, it is simply because they do not know what mediation involves and it sounds too good to be true. Some individuals question why they need a mediator when they can reach an agreement independently. A mediator can help ensure the agreements made are solid, good for the family, detailed and that all the necessary agreements are reached. Besides this, some people feel that the cost of mediation will be the same or more than if they hired lawyers initially. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Using mediation and one party retaining a lawyer to do the legal piece should cost under $5,000. Though $5,000 is a lot of money, this is typically less than the cost of retaining an attorney.

2. I am not sure my spouse will produce their financial documents.
Though a mediator cannot force someone to disclose their finances and produce documents, we can let them know what will happen if they do not provide the required documents. First, the mediator will most likely fire them. Next, through the litigation process with attorneys, thousands of dollars will be spent on subpoenas, depositions, interrogatories, forensic accounting, etc. It will also upset the judge if one party does not disclose all financial documents in a timely manner.

3. I do not believe my spouse is ready to mediate, but I am ready.
This is a tough one, as both parties need to be ready to mediate, since mediation is about reaching agreements necessary for a divorce. On a few occasions, time may help the other party to concede. If that is not the case in your situation, the hesitant party may need to see a therapist to prepare for the pending divorce. Other times, even though someone is hesitant, they may be willing to start the mediation process and the mediator knows they are not the one seeking the divorce. We have worked with many couples over the years where one person does not want the divorce but knows it is inevitable, and just wanted us to know this information before starting. Usually, this is not an issue, provided they are cooperating with each other.

Mediation is one of the best ways to initiate a divorce as it is a straightforward process that is highly effective, unbiased, and less devastating for your kids, relatives, and each other. If you would like to learn more about divorce mediation, reach out to C.E.L. & Associates, Inc. We are divorce mediators in Chicago, and our mission is to facilitate conversations among family members during any kind of conflict or transition. Though we are neutral as divorce mediators, we promise our clients we will be honest, straightforward, and respectful regardless of the circumstances or facts they present to us in the mediation. Our mediators primarily help couples through separation, divorce, and post-decree issues and assist in the break-up of their marriage and re-structuring of their family unit.