Many divorcing couples consider using mediation rather than going the "traditional" divorce route. A mediated divorce is less expensive than a traditional one -- even those that are settled without going to court. They also generally involve less conflict and time.

The Role of the Couple and the Mediator

In mediated divorces, couples work out the various agreements themselves. The mediator is there to facilitate and guide the process -- not to take sides. Not every couple that starts out with mediation is able to follow through with it. They simply aren't able to resolve all of the issues of their divorce on their own.

While some people don't realize that mediation won't work until they try, there are some indicators that it isn't appropriate in your case. You could put in time and effort and perhaps create more conflict in your relationship only to reach no agreement. Worse, you may end up with an agreement that one or both of you is unhappy with.

Reasons Why Mediation May Be a Bad Idea

If you don't think that you'll be able to stand up to your spouse and be a strong advocate for yourself, mediation probably isn't best. When there's an imbalance of power, the more assertive spouses can end up pushing their own agenda, prioritizing the issues to be tackled and getting their husband or wife to "cave."

Of course, if there has been physical or verbal abuse in the relationship, the abused spouse may fear asserting her/himself. Too many spouses don't even realize that they're the victims of another type of abuse -- emotional. However, if, based on your experience with your spouse, you think that he or she will use emotional blackmail or drama to sway the outcome, mediation is not a good idea.

If you don't trust your spouse with your children or your money, mediation isn't the answer. For example, if you believe that your spouse could take your children or empty your bank accounts, these are things that require immediate legal intervention. You should be consulting an attorney -- not seeking a mediator.

Trust is key. If you don't trust your spouse to be honest about his or her assets or other financial matters or to truly work with you to reach an agreement that you both can be satisfied with, rethink whether mediation is right.

If you're uncertain about whether mediation is the right way to handle your divorce, talk with an attorney with mediation experience. These attorneys can help you determine whether it's right for you and your spouse.