How To Come To Divorce Mediation With A Reluctant Spouse

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorneys in Orange CountyGoing through a divorce is never easy. There are tons of emotions involved. Ending what was initially started to last a lifetime is never something that spouses are comfortable about. The fact of the matter however is that, whether its litigation proceedings or the decision to go into a divorce mediation, one of the spouse initiates it.

In most situations once the first spouse has initiated the divorce proceedings the other spouse is able to tag along and go along with the idea of the relationship ending. Yet, there are some situations where despite one of the spouse looking to end the relation, the other spouse refuses to do so, instead opting to continue the relation.

The Dilemma

The dilemma in this regard arises when the couple is looking to go for divorce mediation. The process of mediation is one where the spouses have to converse with one another for the resolution of the disputes that they face. The solution and the ultimate breaking up of assets, children visitation and custody maters and even matters of spousal support are all decided mutually by the spouse with a mediator ensuring a smooth, cordial atmosphere.

The dilemma here is how do you do all that when there is a reluctant spouse who refused to get divorced? This dilemma is faced not so much so in divorce litigation faces because there the judge summons the other spouse to present their view point. In case of a no show, judges have the power to order in default. Is that fair? That is a discussion for another day.

The Solution

People don’t opt for litigation because while it may work in terms of the above mentioned scenario but it deprives the spouses of making decisions about matters that affect their lives. Hence, it is important in this regard to ensure that spouse opting for mediation as long as they want to keep some element of control over their lives.

But how do you make a reluctant spouse willing to participate in divorce mediation? There is no one way of doing so. Most of the steps outlined below can be used simultaneously or one after another.

  • Show them that you understand their view point before putting your view point forward. This will help them understand that what you are saying may in fact be along the lines of their thought.
  • Talk to them about the benefits of going through divorce mediation. Highlight how they will be able to control 50% of the decision and how nothing that they refuse to give assent will be made part of the resolution.
  • If they insist on you giving the relationship another chance, respectfully outline to them how you think there is a no chance of the relationship mending and how you would want to end it on a cordial relation instead of a bitter one.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, “What is Divorce Mediation.”