Dealing with an uncooperative spouse during a divorce can be incredibly challenging and emotionally taxing. While mediation is a voluntary process, and no one can be forced to participate, there are ways to navigate this situation with patience, understanding and compassion and remain in the mediation process.  Here are some tips for handling an uncooperative spouse during a divorce:

1) Give It Time: If your spouse is uncooperative, pressuring them to hurry up and come to an agreement is unlikely to yield positive results. Instead, allow some time to pass. Impatience can make the uncooperative spouse even more resistant, as they may wonder why you’re pushing so hard and what’s in it for you.

2) Don’t Engage in Uncooperative Behavior: It’s crucial not to mirror your spouse’s uncooperative behavior. Often, their lack of cooperation may stem from fear or a perception that the decisions being made are not in their best interest. Engaging in this kind of behavior yourself can further escalate the situation. Try to remain calm and reasonable, as this may help to de-escalate the tension.

3) Seek to Understand: Uncooperative behavior can sometimes be driven by underlying fears, concerns, or a desire for control. Try to understand your spouse’s perspective and what might be causing their resistance. This understanding can guide your approach and help you address their concerns more effectively.

4) Allow for a Cooling-Off Period: In some cases, a cooling-off period may be necessary. During this time, both parties may need space and time to consider their options and proposals. Lack of contact or a break in the negotiations can provide the uncooperative spouse with an opportunity to reassess their position and, hopefully, become more willing to bring it back to the table.

5) Address Fears and Concerns: If you can identify the specific fears or concerns driving your spouse’s uncooperative behavior, work to address them. Open and honest communication is key. Seek professional help, if necessary, to facilitate these conversations and find mutually acceptable solutions.

A professional mediator experienced in handling complex and uncooperative cases can be invaluable.  She can help create a safe and structured environment for communication, ensuring that both parties are heard and supported through the process.

Remember that divorce is a highly charged emotional process, and uncooperative behavior often arises from a place of fear or confusion. While it may be tempting to react with frustration or anger, taking a patient and understanding approach can lead to a smoother resolution. Ultimately, seeking the help of a legal professional and a qualified mediator can make the process more manageable and less emotionally draining for both parties involved.

The Kim Mediation and Law Center is located at 3701 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 508 in Los Angeles, California.  To schedule an appointment, call 213-352-1000 or visit