Quite a few factors go into assessing whether divorce mediation is appropriate for a couple and their readiness for mediation. Here is a simple self-test that each spouse can use to get a handle on this. It comes in part from the excellent book “Using Divorce Mediation” by Katherine E. Stoner which is now out of print. For each statement below, note whether you agree or disagree.
Readiness for Mediation Self-Test
- I am ready to get divorced and I don’t want to reconcile.
- I am motivated to work out an agreement rather than go to court.
- I want to stay on reasonably good terms with my spouse.
- I’ve moved past blame and retribution and I want to be fair.
- I can trust my spouse to be honest when working out our agreement.
- I am not intimidated by my spouse.
- I can disagree with my spouse without saying or doing things I later regret.
- My spouse respects me and will be fair with me.
- I am in good physical and mental health.
- I have the emotional and mental capacity to assess and speak my own needs clearly.
- I understand or I am confident in my ability to understand our finances.
- Physical violence is not an issue in our relationship.
- Drug or alcohol abuse is not an issue in our relationship.
- (If there are children) my spouse is a reasonably good parent.
The more you agree with the statements above, the more your readiness for mediation is high and the more likely you are to succeed in reaching a divorce settlement agreement through mediation.
If you strongly disagree with any of the statements, this is a red flag. Mediation might not be appropriate at this time unless some action(s) can be taken that will change your answer or provide you with sufficient protection and well-being. If for a number of the statements you are more inclined to disagree than agree, this is of course also reason for concern.
Readiness for mediation is a complex subject about which much can be and has been written. The purpose of this self-test is simply to give you as a divorcing spouse a view of the main factors involved and a quick assessment as to whether any of them might be obstacles for you.