If you’ve decided to file for divorce, the chances are that you are now beset by stress and anxiety. Divorce is a complicated life event. There’s no way around that fact, but as you’ve studied your options to regain some hope and control, you might have read about mediation.

You may have read that mediation is often faster, less expensive, and more flexible than a courtroom battle. That’s true, but it’s not always the best option. What’s right for you depends on your circumstances. Everyone’s situation is unique.

Mediation requires couples to compromise

Divorce requires couples to take the lives they shared and untangle them. The process is often very complicated, and it can lead to a lot of stress, conflict, and confusion. However, there are real advantages to mediation if you and your ex can work toward an agreement. In general, compared to court hearings, mediation:

  • Costs less money
  • Offers you more control
  • Allows for more creative solutions
  • Stays out of the public view

It’s worth noting that there’s a big difference between agreeing with your spouse and being willing to make compromises. The mediator’s role is to facilitate discussions. The mediator will expect disagreement and works to make sure each side is heard. Experienced mediators don’t take sides but can help both sides understand the law. This is often enough to help couples find fair compromises.

When mediation doesn’t work

Mediation might not work for you if there’s a real reason to believe you simply cannot reach a fair deal with your spouse. In such cases, mediation might just prove to be a waste of time and money.

Four common warning signs include:

  • Your marriage was abusive, with the abuse directed either toward you or your children
  • You suspect your spouse is trying to hide or disguise assets
  • Your spouse’s judgment may be impaired by drugs or alcohol addiction
  • Your spouse suffers from narcissism or otherwise refuses to compromise

If you recognize any of these signs, you may wish to avoid mediation. You could sit through the whole process. You could work toward a deal, and then your spouse might simply refuse to sign and take it back to court. Or, you might reach a deal, but the playing field was never fair. You might be cheating yourself out of a fair settlement.

Find the best option for you

Amid the stress and confusion of divorce, it can be hard to see the best way to move forward, but it’s important to make the right choice. An experienced attorney can help you decide if mediation might work for you or if you’re better off taking your case to court.