There is no question that divorce is one of the most difficult events a person can go through. It can be physically, emotionally and financially draining, particularly when it drags on and becomes contentious. This is why it can be so important to opt for more peaceful means of divorcing, like mediation or collaborative law.
Committing to these methods of alternative dispute resolution can be an important step in making the divorce process a little easier. However, they can quickly veer off course if one or both parties engage in certain behaviors that could sabotage a cooperative divorce.
- Badmouthing the other person on Facebook – Things you do and say online can affect your divorce, even when you think they are anonymous or private. Badmouthing your ex can spark fights and make that person unwilling to resolve divorce matters outside of court.
- Harassment – Constantly texting an ex, driving by his or her house, and stalking them online are all forms of harassment, and could make that person feel uncomfortable and unsafe. In these situations, it may be necessary to move the case to a courtroom.
- Lying or covering up assets – Honesty is crucial to reaching fair agreements in ADR. If you lie about your finances or cover up assets, then you could very well wind up in front of a judge.
- Delaying the process – You shouldn’t feel like you have to rush through the divorce process. However, if you delay the process so much that the other party becomes too frustrated to continue with ADR, he or she may give up and pursue litigation.
- Refusing to compromise – Mediation and collaboration are about working together to find resolutions, and this typically involves compromising. If you are unwilling to compromise, you could make it impossible to reach an agreement on your own and the issue can go before a judge for resolution.
These and other missteps can result in distrust, hurt feelings and frustration, and there may be no way to repair the damage that has been done. As such, it can be wise to avoid such behaviors if you wish to avoid the courtroom and make your divorce as peaceful and painless as possible.
Attorney Pamela Purdy is a trained mediator and collaborative lawyer and Attorney Allison Hastings also is trained in collaborative law. Either attorney would be happy to discuss ways to improve your chances at attaining a peaceful divorce and avoiding the court process.