How Mediation Can Work for High Conflict Divorce

- Gary E. Williams

In many cases, mediation can be a very effective alternative to litigation, even for high conflict divorces.

Less Adversarial

Although it is often hard for couples to imagine, the mediation room is much easier to face than a courtroom. Mediation tends to be less adversarial, with a more focused attempt at trying to resolve issues as opposed to duking it out in court. Long litigations are not only expensive, but also places more stress on each party. This can often lead to a polarization that becomes impossible to mend.

Affordable Option

It is often couples who have been undergoing a long and stressful litigation that decide to try mediation. Having tapped out financially, they often need to find a more affordable option to get the issues resolved during the divorce process.

Focused on Settlement

Although in theory divorce litigation should ultimately have the same goal as mediation, high conflict cases often result in a war, with both parties being driven to protect their best interests. In the case of mediation, the conflict still exists but remains more controlled, with a focused goal to come up with a settlement agreement.

Neutral Ground

During mediation a safe, neutral environment allows the mediator to keep control over the situation using different skills that might include:

  • Ability to remain non-confrontational
  • Helping both parties see they are not being served an injustice
  • Ability to ask the questions that solve problems instead of cause them
  • Measured approach to communicating effectively

Regaining Trust

Avoiding attack is difficult in cases where hostility is inherent. Litigation often leads to a deep set mistrust that makes it impossible for the parties to reason with each other. Because of this, a good mediator will recognize the importance of validating each person’s anger in order to allow things to move forward during the mediation.

During the mediation process the main goal is to help each party see they both have something to lose in order to allow the agreement process to begin.

In communities throughout Pinellas County, the attorneys at the Law Firm for Family Law are well-versed in mediation proceedings. Our founding attorney, Gary E. Williams, is a certified family law mediator, recognized by the Florida Supreme Court and can provide valuable advice on mediation in the state of Florida.

To discuss your family law issue with one of our attorneys, you are welcome to call us at (727) 531-8737.