Now that you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, you may feel a deep sense of relief. This may be especially true if your marriage was little more than years of struggle and tension. Perhaps your spouse violated your trust by unfaithfulness or other forms of misbehavior, and you simply want the divorce to be over.

Most marriages end through some form of alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation. Kentucky law doesn’t require mediation, but the judge in your case may have ordered it before setting a date for a trial. Whether you have already tried a gentler way to divorce or you are not interested in negotiating, you may be among those few for whom a litigated divorce is the better option.

When your anger is the problem

If you harbor anger and resentment toward your spouse, you may have difficulty imagining politely sitting across the table from each other while you hammer out a fair and generous settlement. In fact, you may have difficulty being in the same room with your spouse. One important element of a successful mediation is that both parties must want to mediate, and they both expect the process to bring them to a favorable conclusion. If neither of these is true for you, litigation may be the way to go.

In fact, your relationship with your spouse may be so badly deteriorated that you can’t yet bring yourself to wish the best for him or her. Mediation aims to bring your divorce to a peaceful, cooperative end, and you may not be ready to work toward that kind of peace for your spouse.

When your ex is the problem

Negotiating a divorce settlement with someone who is narcissistic or who is not willing to claim his or her share of the blame for the troubles in the marriage may be an exercise in futility. If your spouse has a history of ignoring your needs or discounting your point of view, mediation may not get very far.

In the face of such contradiction, you may find it difficult to advocate for yourself. Like many spouses in such relationships, you may have learned that it is easier to give in than to fight for what is rightfully yours. If your spouse was violent or abusive, you probably understood that disagreeing often led to pain. This is a recipe for disaster at the mediation table. However, in the courtroom with a skilled legal advocate, you may have a better chance of obtaining a fair and swift resolution.