If You Suspect Your Spouse is Lying in a Divorce Mediation
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Divorce mediation is designed to be a process where you and your spouse work together to come to an agreement about how you will dissolve your marriage. Going to divorce mediation is an intermediate step between deciding your divorce settlement terms on your own with your spouse and going to court. It is designed for people who just can't work things out on their own, but who don't yet want to have a judge make all their decisions for them. It also tends to be less expensive than going to court, if you can make it work. However, the success of divorce mediation depends on both parties willing to cooperate and be fair and come to a reasonable agreement... if you suspect your spouse is lying, it may be time to stop the mediation.
The Divorce Process
When you go through a divorce process, you have rights under the law. One of those rights is access to some of the property you and your spouse acquired together during marriage. Depending on where you live, property will be divided in one of two major ways:
- A community property system divides all marital property 50-50. Any items or money acquired during the marriage are included, as are any items that you brought into the marriage and mixed with community property. Excluded items are inheritances, property owned before marriage and kept separate, and judgments for personal injury cases unless they are mixed with marital assets.
- An equitable system aims to divide property failure based on a number of factors including each party's contribution to the marriage.
Regardless of which system is used, laws are in place to protect your rights. There are also laws in place as far as protecting your rights to see your children, and except in cases of abuse or neglect, the court will generally allow both parents at least some access to a child.
Ending the Divorce Mediation
If you and your spouse are not able to agree on custody and/or property division, the court will apply these laws to determine what happens. The purpose of mediating your divorce is to get you to agree, but if your spouse is lying, then you may be better off letting the court decide so you can be protected.
When you are arguing a case in court, each spouse will have to turn over information such as financial data. They will also have to answer questions fairly. Lying or failure to turn over requested documents can result in your spouse being held in contempt of court, or even in your spouse going to jail. Therefore, if your spouse is lying during mediation, taking him to court where he legally cannot lie may be a better option.
Before agreeing to mediation or to any divorce settlement, it is imperative you consult with an experienced divorce attorney. Your attorney can assist you in negotiating with your spouse and if deciding if a settlement offer is fair. He can also help you to protect your rights, especially if your spouse is being dishonest in some way during the divorce proceedings.