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Resolving disputes creatively

Can couples who are in high conflict mediate a divorce?

Just like every marriage in New York is unique, every divorce in New York is unique. The dynamics of how the couple works together to make decisions, care for the children, handle finances and other issues vary from marriage to marriage. There are also many reasons that people divorce. Some may be able to work together, but they simply fall out of love or fall in love with someone else. Others disagree on everything and fight over every decision or do not communicate well.

Oftentimes, when the couple does not get along or disagrees on everything, the divorce will be very bitter and contentious. However, it does not need to be that way. Even high conflict couples may be able to use mediation to resolve divorce issues.

Mediators work with couples to create an environment where both spouses can be heard on their issues. The mediator will make sure that each spouse feels safe to express their needs and desires. The mediator can also help both spouses understand the other's point of view.

Even though mediation can be used in high conflict divorces, it cannot be used for certain high conflict situations. If there was domestic abuse between the couple or substance abuse problems, divorce mediation may not work. Also, if a spouse refuses to disclose financial information, mediation will not be effective.

Many couples go through divorce in New York every year. Each of these divorces are unique and present different issues and challenges. Some couples are in high conflict and have a difficult time agreeing to anything. However, the couple may find that mediation may be an effective way of resolving the issues in their divorce.

Source: New York State Council on Divorce Mediation, "FAQs" accessed on Feb. 23, 2016

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