It is now compulsory for most divorcing couples to attempt mediation before they can use the family law courts to settle the terms of their divorce. However, your ex may be dead-set against mediation and either work the system to go straight to the courts, or to deliberately sabotage the compulsory mediation.
If you do want to use mediation it can be hard to convince your ex that it is the best way to divorce, as they may be concerned about having to give away too much, having to resolve the conflicts between yourselves and they may feel like their voice will not be heard during mediation.
However, all these fears are unfounded as for most suitable couples, mediation is the best method for deciding on the terms of the divorce. It is less expensive, less stressful, better for any children involved and more empowering for the couples. It also gives you the skills and experience that you need to resolve future conflicts with your ex as and when they arise.
Convincing your ex may be difficult, as they may be doing everything in their power to disagree with you and even agreeing to give mediation a go may seem like they have already conceded. Therefore you will need to be tactful and come up with some solid arguments about why mediation will work best.
For many people, the idea of saving money is enough to win them round. Court battles tend to be lengthy affairs and you will be paying for both your lawyer and your time in court. With mediation the fees tend to be very clear, hourly fees so you know how much you will be paying. Your mediator should be able to give you an idea of how long your case should take before you start. Bring up any examples you know of how much divorce cost friends or family members and use them to convince your ex that court fees are best avoided.
If the money doesn’t convince your ex, then the idea of control might. This is especially true if you have children. Suggest to your ex that giving mediation a go will allow you both to trial how you split up access to the children. You can take as much time as you need with mediation, allowing you to spend a few weeks trying different access patterns before going back to decide which one was best. In a court you may have to fight for certain access rights only to find that they are ineffective for the stability of your children. Mediation will give you the power to decide what is best for your family.
Mediation is also much more private than a family court. It is between you, your lawyers and your mediator. No one else will be involved or hear about what is going on. The idea of publicly airing dirty laundry is not very appealing to most people.
If your ex still isn’t convinced then remind them that they have nothing to lose by giving mediation a fair go. At any point you can go through the courts and any mediation decisions will no longer be taken into account.