For many couples, it is wiser to go through divorce mediation than to leave property and custody decisions up to the court. However, mediation is not the right route for everyone. Washington couples who are seeking separation should not use divorce mediation if:

  • A spouse is untrustworthy. Successful mediation relies on an open, honest dialogue between the separating couple. If a spouse has lied in the past about his or her bank accounts, past relationships, inherited or gifted funds, or an investment portfolio, you should hire an attorney to collect the facts in your case. Your attorney can also deal with your spouse on your behalf in the future, in case your spouse is truant in providing alimony or child support payments.
  • A spouse is manipulative or intimidating. Mediation allows each party to work together to negotiate an agreement that works best for them. If your spouse has a habit of “shouting you down” or using your feelings or children against you, it is best to use an intermediary to seek out a solution.
  • Your spouse has a history of abuse. If your spouse has committed acts of domestic violence or has a history of drug or alcohol abuse, you may not feel safe negotiating and have less of a chance of receiving an equal portion of property.
  • You cannot disagree respectfully with your spouse. Divorcing couples rarely agree on everything they bring to the table in a divorce mediation. There must be some give-and-take in mediation, and each party must listen to what the other wants without reacting emotionally.

Even if you and your spouse have very different ideas about the division of property, there’s no reason to think you cannot reach an agreement in mediation. In many cases, couples are better able to communicate why they want the assets they have chosen and what they are willing to give up more clearly in mediation than in court. To find out if mediation is the right choice for you, click the contact link on this page to set up a private consultation.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington