We recommend, when couples are exploring the best process for negotiating their divorce or separation that they begin with the least contentious and expensive process: mediation. In other words, it is easier to “ramp-up” than to deescalate. However, we have recently had the opportunity to mediate with a variety of couples who have been through protracted attorney intensive court battles. Wary though they may be, to attempt sitting together and negotiate directly around issues of custody and child support, among others, some find it can be a welcome dynamic change. To be sure, this is an adjustment, from a lawyer speaking on a client’s behalf to articulating one’s own perspective, in an autonomous process and listening to the other do so as well. Step by step parties reestablish a means of communication and make small agreements. These often lay the foundation for a measure of trust and cooperation going forward. From time to time, we work with couples who are still in court, but wish to mediate discreet issues. There is certainly a bit of whiplash involved –but the hope is that the face-to-face facilitated conversation leads the way toward settlement of other issues as well.
For those interested in the psychologists’ perspective on the affect of shared parenting in high conflict couples, see the attached. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/co-parenting-after-divorce/201205/co-parenting-and-high-conflict
For those who wish to understand mediation in general, see the attached. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/j-richard-kulerski/what-most-people-dont-kno_b_1220249.html