Most people will go through mediation to address at least some legal matters when they divorce in California. However, mediation and other alternatives to litigation may not always be wise or successful.
Under some circumstances, litigation can be the most appropriate option for divorcing spouses to secure a fair resolution. We explain a few of these situations in this post.
When safety is a concern
If you or your soon-to-be ex has a history of violence or abuse, it may not be feasible to work out divorce-related matters together outside of court. Abusive parties may be manipulative or threatening to such a degree that attempts to reach decisions together are likely to fail. In the most serious cases, there could be threats to someone’s safety. Under these circumstances, keeping parties separated can be crucial.
When there are complex assets at stake
Dividing assets can be a complicated process, though many people are still able to work out agreements in mediation or collaborative divorce. That said, some assets are far too complex or substantial to divide outside of court. For instance, in cases that involve closely-held businesses, assets that are difficult to value or property co-owned by other parties, going to court can be necessary.
When you cannot reach an agreement
In some cases, a mediator or other professional can help parties negotiate and compromise so they can reach an agreement, but that doesn’t always happen. In some cases, the issue is too divisive for divorcing spouses to resolve on their own. When two people have reached a stalemate, the issue will go before a judge for a ruling.
While there are numerous benefits to out-of-court options like mediation during a divorce, the fact is that it is not always possible to avoid litigation altogether. With that in mind, if you are divorcing, it is important to understand your legal options and rights in all settings, from the mediation room to the courtroom.