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Are You a High Conflict Couple Looking for a Divorce?


As a divorce attorney and mediator, I can tell you divorce litigation is very rarely a positive process. Mediated and negotiated settlements are increasingly popular especially among divorcing couples’ in today’s COVID-19 climate.

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 for over 35 years, I see anger and resentment playing a big role in many couples' 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 process addresses these behaviors.

I met with Elaina and Rocco virtually about 6 months ago for a consultation. During our first meeting it became clear to me they were a high conflict couple. Elaina introduced the idea of mediation to her husband, and he considered it because it would be less expensive than both of them hiring attorneys.

During our first session, they discussed their tumultuous relationship with me and immediately started rehashing the past.

They continued to voice 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, not reliving the past.

They continued to argue back and forth, and seldom came up for air. I listened carefully, empathized, advised, encouraged and guided their discussions.

We eventually discussed assets, real estate, 401(k) plans, child support, spousal support, visitation, life insurance, health insurance, taxes and their mounting debt issues over the next few 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 smoking and drinking problem that the husband repeatedly addressed as annoying, irresponsible, and it really triggered his anger.

I was able to help the wife with this, as part of my mediation process, and she is now working with a psychologist who is part of my team who is experienced in the treatment of obsessive behaviors and addictions.

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 few 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 the couples’ expressions 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! You will be surprised; I am an effective and fair referee! J

All our FREE ONE-HOUR CONSULTATIONS are conveniently conducted virtually to reduce risk.

Call now to book your free consultation. 212.734.1551.

I look forward to working with you, and helping you find productive solutions!

Stay healthy and safe!

Warm regards,


Call New York Divorce Lawyer Lois Brenner today to schedule your free consultation!

Call 212.734.1551.