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When is litigation a better choice than mediation?

If your marriage was contentious, there is no reason to believe that your divorce will be anything different. Nevertheless, you may have heard good things about the process of mediation, and you may wonder if it is something that would work for you and your spouse. After all, it would be nice to arrive at an arrangement that is pleasant and agreeable rather than battling over every issue.

While mediation is certainly appropriate for many marriages and most Kentucky family law judges will require a couple to try mediation before heading to the courtroom, mediation is not always the right fit, and you may know better than anyone whether it is advisable for your situation.

Why should I let the courts decide?

The relationship you have with your soon-to-be ex-spouse is a major factor in determining whether to mediate or litigate. For couples who have a tender spot for one another and wish only the best for their futures, mediation may be a logical choice. It allows both parties to meet on their own terms and arrive at a settlement that is agreeable to both.

On the other hand, if you are not able to see eye to eye with your spouse on the most basic items, you may find litigation the best alternative. Mediation requires both parties to compromise and to see the other person's perspective. You and your spouse may not even agree on the reasons why you are divorcing. If your spouse consistently blames you for the demise of the marriage without considering his or her role, you might be better off with a traditional, litigated divorce.

Other reasons why skipping mediation may be a wise choice include the following:

  • You have a difficult time speaking up for your rights.
  • You don't want to take the time it requires to adequately mediate a divorce.
  • You are divorcing a narcissist.
  • You simply don't want the shift in thinking that mediation often brings about.
  • Your marriage was abusive.

Mediation is certainly not for a couple that includes a victim and an abuser. You may not be able to express yourself confidently when facing someone who mistreated or emotionally controlled you throughout your marriage.

Whether you opt for mediation or feel litigation is the most effective way to reach a fair settlement, having a legal advocate is typically in your best interests. Having someone at your side who will be objective, frank and supportive can be to your advantage.

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