A high conflict couple is generally a couple who is having difficulty communicating,
who sometimes engage in threatening or manipulative behavior, and who
often need a third party to support productive discussions.
As a psychologically-trained divorce attorney and mediator I see anger
and resentment playing a big role in many couple's inability to communicate
effectively. My role whether mediating or negotiating is to help put a
lid on all this non-productive behavior. When anger and resentment become
the center of any relationship, the conflict in the relationship takes
on a life of its own, and thoughtful, productive conversations become
impossible. My unique psychologically-infused divorce mediation addresses
I met with Angela and Sam (not their actual names), virtually, for a consultation.
Ii our first meeting it became clear to me they were a high conflict couple.
Angela introduced the idea of mediation to her husband, and he considered
it, because it would be less expensive than both of them hiring attorneys.
When we arranged our Zoom video conference 3 weeks ago, they were self-quarantining
with their three young children due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During our first session they discussed their tumultuous relationship with
me, and immediately started rehashing the past. They continued to layout
their grievances and kept interrupting each other. I intervened and cautioned
that the past had no place in our discussion, and mediation was about
finding solutions and moving forward. They continued to argue back and
forth, and seldom came up for air. I listened carefully, empathized, advised,
encouraged and guided their discussions.
We discussed assets, real estate, 401(k) plans, child support, spousal
support, visitation, life insurance, health insurance and taxes over the
next few Zoom meetings. Along the way the disruptive behaviors joined
the process, but I repeatedly reminded them of the goal, kept a more productive
conversation going, and helped them make important decisions which I documented
in preparation of their settlement agreement. It is not unusual for a
high conflict couple to fight for control in the mediation process.
My role as a mediator is to manage this, be the voice of reason, identify
and address some of the emotional issues infecting the relationship, and
to provide recommendations for resolution. One of the main issues, although
not the only one, was that the wife had a hoarding problem which that
the husband repeatedly addressed as annoying, unsafe and it really trigger
his anger. I was able to help the wife with this, as part of my mediation
process, and she is now working virtually with a psychologist experienced
in the treatment of obsessive behaviors which includes hoarding.
For this couple mediation is working really well. I expect them to make
some final decisions regarding custody, and visitation shortly and the
mediation process should conclude in the next two weeks.
If mediation is new to you, it is an effective, cooperative process in
which a neutral third party (me) helps couples reach a fair settlement.
During mediation I request honesty, promote positive communication, handle
their expression of emotion, reinforce positive decisions, uncover and
address the root of underlying issues, and help couples stay focused on
finding solutions and preparing for the future, instead of arguing about the past.
If you are interested in hearing about how this highly successful mediation
method can work for you, give me a call! I will be happy to answer all
your questions about mediation!
Don’t worry, even if you are angry at each other, I can help!
During the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic all our
FREE ONE HOUR CONSULTATIONS are
conveniently conducted virtually by telephone or TeleDivorce by Zoom of Skype to reduce
risk and maintain safety for everyone!
Call now to book your free consultation. 212.734.1551
I look forward to working with you, and helping you create a fair agreement.
Stay Healthy & Safe!