When Mediation Hits a Wall: Exploring Alternatives to Divorce Mediation


Divorce is a challenging process that can strain emotions and relationships. Rhino Mediation is committed to helping clients navigate this difficult time by providing professional mediation services. However, sometimes, despite our best efforts, divorce mediation may not work. This article explores what happens when mediation doesn’t yield the desired results and delves into the alternatives available.

What are the reasons why divorce mediation may not work?

Divorce mediation is not the right path for everyone. Here are some common reasons why a couple may not be successful in mediating their divorce settlement:

  • One or both spouses are not willing to compromise.
  • The couple cannot agree on key issues, such as child custody, asset distribution, and spousal support.
  • One or both spouses become too emotional and cannot effectively communicate their needs and desires.
  • One or both spouses feel that they are not being heard or valued during the mediation process.

What are your options if divorce mediation does not work?

If divorce mediation does not result in a settlement, there are several options available to you. Here are some of the most common:

  • Hire an attorney: If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement through mediation, you may need to hire an attorney to represent you in court. This can be more expensive and time-consuming than mediation, but it may be necessary if you cannot reach a settlement.
  • Collaborative divorce: In a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse each hire an attorney who is trained in collaborative divorce. You work together to reach a settlement outside of court. If you cannot reach an agreement, you must start over with new attorneys and cannot use any information from the collaborative process in court.
  • Arbitration: Arbitration is a process where a neutral third party makes a decision about your divorce settlement. It is more formal than mediation, but less formal than going to court. In arbitration, you and your spouse each present your cases to the arbitrator, who then makes a decision. The decision is usually binding.
  • Traditional litigation: If all other options fail, you may need to go to court to have a judge decide your divorce settlement. This can be costly and time-consuming, but it is sometimes necessary if you cannot reach an agreement through mediation, collaborative divorce, or arbitration.

Collaborative Law

Collaborative law is another option to consider if divorce mediation does not work. Collaborative law is a cooperative process where both parties agree to settle their issues without going to court. Each party is represented by a lawyer, and all parties work together to achieve a resolution that works for everyone. If either party chooses to go to court at any stage during this process, both lawyers will be disqualified from representing either party in court.


Arbitration is another alternative to consider when mediation fails. This option is similar to a court proceeding, but it is less formal and more flexible. In arbitration, an arbitrator is appointed to make a decision that is binding on both parties. The decision can only be overturned in rare circumstances, such as where there is evidence of corruption or fraud. Arbitration can be less expensive and quicker than a court proceeding, and it can be used to settle almost any dispute.

How can you increase the chances of success in divorce mediation?

There are several things you can do to increase the chances of success in divorce mediation. Here are some tips:

  • Choose the right mediator: Make sure you choose a mediator who is experienced, neutral, and has a good reputation.
  • Be willing to compromise: Divorce mediation requires both spouses to be willing to give a little to get a little. If you are not willing to compromise, mediation is likely to fail.
  • Be open and honest: Honesty and openness are crucial in divorce mediation. Be willing to communicate your needs and concerns and listen to your spouse’s as well.
  • Manage your emotions: Divorce can be a highly emotional experience. Take steps to manage your emotions so that you can communicate effectively during mediation.
  • Be prepared: Before entering mediation, make sure you are fully prepared. This includes understanding your finances, your assets, and your future needs.

Navigating the Path Ahead

Divorce mediation is an excellent way for couples to work together to reach a mutually acceptable divorce settlement. If mediation fails, don’t despair – there are other options available. You can choose to hire an attorney, try collaborative divorce, go to arbitration, or go to court. By choosing the right option for your situation, you can still achieve a successful outcome. Remember, success in divorce mediation often depends on both parties being willing to compromise, communicate openly and honestly, and manage their emotions. With the right preparation and mindset, you can increase the chances of success in any form of divorce settlement process. If you’re stuck in a mediation that is not moving ahead, Rhino Mediation can help you out with a professional and unbiased approach. Just get in touch with us today to start the process.

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