First, let us clear up a common misunderstanding: not all conflict is necessarily bad. All “conflict” means is “disagreement,” and disagreements are not inherently unhealthy. In fact, a couple who never disagrees about anything could be exhibiting more signs of an unhealthy relationship that the couple who has different viewpoints.
Conflict is a regular part of any divorce, but sometimes, conflicts can escalate. If one spouse becomes angry, belligerent or aggressive, he or she is exhibiting high-conflict behaviors. High-conflict responses can also be the exact opposite of what you assume. Avoiding disagreements at all costs, retreating into oneself and being unresponsive, assuming the outcome will be negative: all of these count as high-conflict behaviors, too.
An example of resolving a conflict in a healthy way
When we say we aim to resolve conflicts, we mean that we aim to help two people who disagree on a given subject find a way to come to an agreement about it. For example: let’s say that you and your spouse have agreed to legal custody of your children (meaning, you agree to make decisions about their education, their healthcare and their religious upbringing together), but you cannot agree how you wish to handle physical custody. You want your child’s primary residence to be with you, and so does your spouse. You know there is no way to exactly divide the nights and days your children live with you – so what can you do?
This is a conflict that must be resolved. Our goal is to provide you the tools and information you need so that you can reach an agreement – or resolve your conflict – regarding the physical custody of your children. One of the benefits of making these decisions in mediation is that we can help you design a more creative, individualized custody agreement that a court could not. You can be more creative with vacation time, weekends, holidays and nights spent at your home. You can name specific areas where you might be more flexible (say, birthdays or family reunions), with the understanding that both parties agree to the plan.
Conflict is not bad, and neither you nor your spouse should feel guilty about disagreeing with one another about how to move forward. As long as you both agree to be willing participants in your mediation sessions, and to try something new that is designed to leave both parties feeling confident and happy with the decision, you may be able to resolve any conflicts you have and come out as friends (or at least as civil co-parents) when all is said and done.
At Taylor Jones Taylor, we understand the benefits of mediation for couples who are ready and willing to move forward – but just aren’t sure how to do so. Our experienced divorce lawyers in Southaven, Olive Branch and Hernando are here to help. To learn more about our services, or to schedule a consultation, please call 662.253.5193, or fill out this contact form.