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How do you know if you should or shouldn't try mediation?

Divorce litigation is an unhappy, unforgiving process that's automatically adversarial in nature. It's all about winning and losing.

Divorce mediation, by contrast, is all about compromise. It's about 3-4 times less expensive than litigation, and it allows you to end your marriage the same way you began it -- in control of what happens next.

However, there are some divorces that just aren't good candidates for mediation. How do you tell whether or not your divorce is one of them? Ask yourself three basic questions.

1. Is there a vast power difference between you and your spouse?

The power could be financial -- especially if he or she has always held the financial reigns pretty tightly and treats you as inferior because your income is lower or because you don't "really" work (even though you maintain a full-time position as the primary caretaker of the children and home).

The power could also be primarily emotional -- if your spouse has been verbally abusive or physically violent, you may not be in a strong enough emotional state to stick up for yourself during negotiations.

2. Do you believe that your spouse is hiding money or assets?

If you have no clue about the family finances, is your spouse willing to show you where everything is invested or owed? Do you feel like the communication is honest? If so, you probably have nothing to worry about.

However, if your spouse makes it as hard as possible for you to understand the family's assets, seems secretive or suddenly claims to be broke despite no apparent change in lifestyle, he or she is probably hiding something. You may need a divorce attorney to probe deeper into the finances in order to get a fair settlement.

3. Is your spouse purposefully delaying the process?

If your spouse seems to be determined to drag the whole process out as long as possible, he or she may not really want the divorce. Alternately, he or she may be more emotionally invested in playing the victim than moving on. Either way, you may need to litigate just to move forward.

If you've considered each of these questions and decided that mediation could help, consider making an appointment with an attorney who can help you and your spouse collaborate on a divorce through mediation.

Source: The Huffington Post, "A Litigating Divorce is No April Fools' Joke.," Joy A Dryer, April 01, 2017

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