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When spouses go to court and fight tooth and nail over any or all aspects of their divorce, the court labels them as a High Conflict Divorce. If the conflict is over property, the parties hurt only themselves as every dollar they put in a lawyer’s or an expert’s pocket is one less dollar they have to split amongst themselves. High conflict property disputes can be a waste of time, money, and energy.

Too Often Children are the reason for a High Conflict Divorce

Too often the high conflict divorce is over a couples’ child(ren). And when the conflict is over the child(ren) the biggest loser is the child. The law doesn’t favor the best parent. The law is built upon the concept that a child should have frequent and continuing contact with both parents so long as the child can do so safely. And for the child, at the end of the day, he or she is still the child of each of you. So even if one of you is correct in claiming that the other is unfit, you are unintentionally conveying the message that half of your child is damaged or in simple child terms bad. Children in high conflict divorces are often filled with anxiety and engage in self-blame.

No loving parent wants their child to suffer, but during a high conflict divorce we are often not able to separate our own feelings of hurt, fear, and loss from what is best for our child. Everything in your life is changing and it is very common to find yourself grabbing at what feels like the shattered pieces of your life.

How Do I Avoid Having a High Conflict Divorce?

Great question. First and foremost, acknowledge your own feelings of hurt, rejection, failure, and your fears for a future that is not as you might have planned. Once you are aware of these feelings, you can do something constructive to cope with them. (Note: fighting in court over whether Johnny goes to bed at 8:30 p.m. or 9:30 p.m. is not what I have in mind for constructive coping mechanisms.) Constructive coping mechanisms that I have seen clients employ include: individual therapy, divorce support groups, and running clubs. This list is not exhaustive. The point is to find an outlet to release some of the feelings that you are experiencing in healthy ways.

By addressing your own emotions, you will be better equipped to make decisions that affect your child employing criteria that is important to your child. Divorce Mediation is an excellent forum for working out parenting plans that are child focused. In Divorce Mediation, we start from the idea that a compromise is better than having a stranger make decisions on how you will live your life.  Operating from this prespective will allow you to focus on why you agreed to mediation rather than who is right. Because at the end of the day, being right won’t make you or your chid hurt any less. Divorce is a loss and losses hurt and must be mourned. You cannot avoid the journey, but you can choose your route. When you chose a route that keeps you and your spouse in control of the outcome, there are long term benefits.  The most important of which, in my opinion, are the benefit to your child that you and your spouse loved him or her so much that you put aside your own pain to work on reducing your child’s pain.

Divorce Mediation: You Deserve to Give it a Try

You owe it to yourself and your child(ren) to consider Divorce Mediation before hitting the courthouse. To get started all you have to do is schedule your Free Divorce Mediation Evaluation phone consult. Let me help you explore the different divorce avenues so you can make the best choice for you.

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