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When To Choose Divorce Court Over Mediation

Posted on December 29th, 2017 by Oddo & Babat, P.C.

Divorce is one of the most stressful events a person can experience. Sometimes, the stress and heartache can be mitigated if both parties want and agree to settle it civilly. However, there are cases when settling a divorce in court may be more advisable than seeking a divorce through mediation. Here are some cases where divorce court would be the ideal option.

A Combative Partner

If one party in the case is particularly combative, you may have no logical choice other than divorce court. In more dramatic cases, volatile clients might have retained a divorce lawyer who also aggressively pursues every remedy possible, to the extent that peaceful negotiations are not feasible. This mixture of an angry spouse with an aggressive lawyer can make mediation impossible.

Spouse Using Divorce Court as Revenge

It’s no secret that divorce court can require a lot of time, money, and energy that you might not have. Some particularly malevolent spouses may leverage this, making the divorce proceedings as lengthy and time-consuming as possible, to “get back at” their partner. If one party insists on using court and refuses mediation, divorce court is the only option left.

The Other Spouse is Absent

The previous two examples happen frequently. Perhaps a more rare occurrence is that one of the parties simply leaves town and doesn’t come back. In this case, divorce proceedings may still occur, but mediation requires that both parties are present. If your spouse leaves and does not return, you will need to get a divorce court judge to dissolve your marriage. While this can be annoying, it’s significantly less stressful and time-consuming than some other divorce court situations.

Spouse Attempts to Manipulate Mediation Efforts

If your spouse is particularly dishonest, they might take advantage of the more casual atmosphere of mediation and lie about key facts. Mediation requires a “good faith” effort from both parties in order to be fair and effective. More manipulative parties can create costly fabrications that would be perjury if done in divorce court. In these scenarios, the more reasonable spouse may be the one requesting divorce court over mediation in order to avoid losses that will be difficult, if not impossible, to recover later.

Physical Danger Present

Your safety is paramount at all times. Because mediation is less structured, it’s riskier to negotiate with a spouse who has previously been convicted or accused of domestic violence. Even though divorce court is more costly, it provides more physical security and fewer opportunities for a violent spouse to attack.

In most cases, mediation is advised if it’s possible. Some of the benefits of mediation include:

  • Much smaller fiscal burden
  • More peaceful proceedings
  • Matter is kept completely confidential

Regardless of whether you choose mediation or a court proceeding for a divorce, getting counsel from a divorce lawyer in Bloomington IL is always a good idea.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Pioletti & Pioletti for their insight into divorce.


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