A failed mediation is incredibly frustrating, especially if you entered into it voluntarily in the hopes maintaining civil relations with your spouse. When you think about the money and effort that you put in, it would appear as though your mediation attempts were a complete waste of time. You should, however, consider what you learned about yourself, as well as your spouse, during the mediation sessions. For example, it's likely that you went into the mediation process with a preconceived notion of which issues were the most important. However, an open discussion with a certified mediator may have enlightened you on other issues that are far more pressing. You may have also learned some new things about your spouse, which can be helpful in the formulation of a legal strategy if going to trial becomes your only option.
Of course, the danger here is that your spouse may also be learning things that he or she can later use against you. Discussions on sensitive topics such as adultery, mental illness and financial liabilities can result in both sides revealing a lot more than they ever intended. In many cases, individuals who were sure that certain issues were resolved are surprised to find out that their spouse still holds it against them. Instead of seeing your spouse's petty jabs as a personal attack, you should give some thought to how these accusations may be used against you in court. After all, even if the allegations are false, you will still need to refute them in court, so it's important to start compiling the needed evidence as soon as possible.
This is where a family law attorney becomes essential. By asking you about your discussions, an experienced attorney can get a sense of the possible legal strategies that your spouse may be considering. Key information can also be gleaned from any proposed settlements that you were offered during the mediation process. Even if there are parts of it that are completely disagreeable to you, there are likely to be sections that are usable. By focusing on the things you both agree on, your lawyer can help facilitate further discussions that will move you closer to a settlement. Your attorney can also help you look into other non-litigation divorce methods, such as arbitration and collaborative divorce. Remember – an experienced, reputable attorney will always encourage you to settle your differences out of court. Going to trial, however, may be your only option if your divorce is based on highly contentious grounds such as extreme cruelty, deviant sexual conduct, or addiction to drugs and/or alcohol.
Regardless of how you choose to end your marriage, negotiating the most equitable settlement for you and your children requires guidance from an experienced family law attorney. No matter where you are in the divorce process, please consider speaking with the attorneys of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. Our attorneys look forward to advising you of your rights and options during a free initial consultation.