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Part 3: When to switch from mediation to litigation.

When to Switch from Mediation to Litigation

Divorce mediation can be a great alternative dispute resolution technique to resolve differences during a Virginia divorce negotiation. However, there are times when mediation is no longer an effective technique and you may be required to switch from mediation to traditional divorce litigation. If you suspect any of the following situations are occurring in your divorce mediation case, you should consider speaking with your divorce attorney about making the switch to litigation.

Your Spouse is Using Mediation to Stall

In some situations, one spouse is using alternative dispute resolution as a stall tactic and not because he or she is trying to resolve any issues. Sometimes, this can be because one spouse fears a court order to pay alimony or child support and other times it can be because that spouse likes the current child custody or temporary alimony arrangement and does not want it to change. In other cases, one spouse can simply be in denial that the marriage is over and stalling in an attempt to keep the marriage going for as long as possible.

Your Spouse is Not Negotiating in Good Faith

Another reason to switch from divorce mediation to traditional divorce litigation is if you believe that your spouse is not negotiating in good faith. This issue can arise in a number of different ways. If you are financially dependent on your spouse and he or she stops paying your bills during mediation, it may require the switch to litigation and a request for temporary spousal support. In addition, if you believe that your spouse is hiding assets or spending money and not telling you, it may require the shift to traditional litigation.

Negotiation on an Issue Breaks Down

If negotiation between spouses breaks down on any particular issue, that is a clear sign that divorce litigation is needed. While mediation can be effective in resolving a number of different matters in a divorce negotiation, there may be an issue like child custody on which neither spouse is willing to budge. When this happens and negotiation breaks down, traditional divorce litigation is required to settle the dispute.

Personality Clashes

Finally, it is important to understand that some personality types just do not do well in divorce mediation and will require traditional divorce litigation in order to resolve your issues. Alternative dispute resolution should not be used if one spouse has a history of abuse, is a narcissist, or is a high-conflict individual. These personality types often try to use mediation as a way to punish the other spouse, seek revenge, and refuse to negotiate despite high costs and the waste of time. If your spouse falls into one of these personality categories, you should seriously consider switching from divorce mediation to litigation in Virginia.

Talk to a Virginia Divorce Attorney Today

If you want to learn more about divorce mediation and whether it is right for your situation, a local Virginia divorce attorney can help. Contact us today to learn more about your legal options.