Using Mediation to Resolve High Conflict Divorces and Custody Disputes
Contested divorce and custody cases need not end up in court. There are alternative paths available for reaching a negotiated resolution and avoiding drawn-out litigation. One such path is mediation. If a couple is open to it, mediation can be pursued before a divorce or custody case is filed to try to reach a marital or custody settlement agreement. Many couples, however, prefer to pursue court intervention before mediation, but little do they know the court will most likely order mediation anyway.
According to recent research, up to 30 percent of all domestic relations or family cases are considered high-conflict. These can include sharp disputes over property division, parenting matters or both. In Colorado, contested divorces, including high-conflict ones, will often be referred to mediation.
Experienced mediators are skilled at dealing with high-conflict parties, including managing the hot-tempered conflicts that can arise. Mediation can disarm the parties, remove emotions from the conversation and help the couple ultimately focus on their needs and priorities. Mediators are skilled in navigating the power dynamics and relationship patterns that often characterize a high-conflict parties.
Mediation can provide a safe space for a participant who may feel threatened or overwhelmed by the other. Mediation also allows each person to have their say in a confidential setting, knowing that their statements cannot later be used in court against them. This often helps the people be more honest about the dynamics of their relationship and their needs.
Mediation can often significantly reduce the stress, time and expense of court intervention, even one with combative personalities and seemingly unresolvable disagreements. Mediators employ a diverse set of tools to disengage the parties from arguments and to de-escalate the subjects of conflict. An experienced divorce attorney can advise you about the possibility of utilizing mediation before or during the proceeding.
At the Law Office of Bonnie E. Saltzman, LLC in south Denver, Colorado, we guide our clients through the dispute resolution process, including mediation. Please call 720-388-1565 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.