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Mediation Vs. Litigation for High-Conflict Divorces: A Better Path to Resolution

Many people mistakenly believe that court litigation is the only way to handle a heated, high-conflict divorce. While litigation may be necessary in certain cases, mediation often presents a far superior alternative for resolving such issues.

The key advantage of mediation lies in its non-adversarial setting. In high-net-worth divorces, where numerous complexities are involved, relying solely on the court to resolve every issue may not be practical. Frequent court appearances only escalate conflicts and decrease the chances of reaching a settlement.

Conflict also exists in mediation, but a skilled mediator can focus on finding common ground and creating a settlement agreement. A good mediator possesses essential skills, including non-confrontational techniques, redirecting parties when necessary, and asking questions to aid problem-solving. Crucially, a mediator remains impartial, never taking sides.

 

Navigating Hostility

High-conflict divorces often involve deeply entrenched hostility between the parties, leading to constant attacks during litigation. The adversarial process can further amplify mistrust and make reaching an agreement nearly impossible. In mediation, the mediator dedicates extra time to ensure both parties feel heard and have an opportunity to express their emotions fully. Validating anger and deflating aggression is essential before any progress can be made towards resolution.

The mediator can also identify leverage points to encourage each party to be their best self during negotiations. Recognizing potential losses, like a pending court date or foreclosure, can shift focus towards the bigger picture, reducing personal attacks. When one party generates most of the conflict, the mediator can engage them to understand their concerns and encourage productive communication.

 

Changing a Hostile Perspective

Counseling can be highly beneficial for hostile or high-conflict individuals, although encouraging their participation can be challenging. By emphasizing the protection of their children as a goal, separated or divorced parents may be more inclined to seek counseling. Realizing how their hostility negatively affects their children often provides parents with a higher objective and dissuades further attacks on each other. Understanding the impact on their children motivates many to agree to therapy and make positive changes.

It’s important to recognize that these difficult clients are not inherently “bad people” or “bad parents.” They may simply lack sufficient coping skills to handle the challenges. With the mediator’s support and counseling, they can shift their perspective and work cooperatively for the well-being of their family.

At Consenso Mediation & Divorce Coaching, we offer an unbiased approach to resolve heated divorce and marital cases. Our practice welcomes all parties interested in achieving a fair and peaceful resolution. Reach Mediator Michaele Gantz by phone at (917) 922-4750 or send us a message here. We’re happy to help you navigate through the complexities of your divorce with understanding and compassion.

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