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Around the Table

Levitt Family Law & Mediation’s Blog

High Conflict Divorce Cases Don’t Always Need Litigation

by | May 24, 2024 | Divorce

Why is Court the “go to” place for resolving divorce cases? It doesn’t have to be. Most cases can be settled out of Court, using processes like mediation and Collaborative Law. And yes, it’s possible – even if the parties are “high conflict” and appear unable to agree on anything.

What is a “high-conflict” case? The courts commonly refer to high conflict divorce cases as “frequent flyers,” where parties are constantly going to Court, sometimes for years, because they cannot communicate and cannot find a pathway to peace. Left in their wake are children stuck in the middle, extensive legal fees and an inability to move forward in life post-divorce. These parties often get stuck in time, in an endless loop of discord and conflict.

Finding Common Ground

How can out-of-court settlement processes like mediation and Collaborative Law help “frequent flyers”? There is always common ground in divorce cases, you just have to find it and build upon it.

Even the most contentious couples may be able to resolve their divorce out of Court if they can be helped to find a singular purpose, such as their children’s well-being, saving money by not spending it on years of litigation, recognizing that there can be life after divorce and realizing that life can be found without it having to be at the expense of their “ex” or children.

Using Available Tools

Out-of-court settlement processes contain many tools that provide support and structure for high-conflict parties to help them to maintain focus and guide them in looking ahead and not backward. These tools include:

  • Settlement-oriented lawyers who give advice to ensure each party’s interests are protected, and also make the effort to get their respective clients to be realistic and understand what is reasonable and equitable within existing legal parameters.
  • Financial neutrals who can level the playing field and assist in modeling current and future budgets and how to meet such needs.
  • Child specialists or divorce coaches (look for our next blog co-authored with Dr. Gina Arons about the use of coaches or case facilitators), who can help craft parenting plans that address both parties’ concerns, even helping establish safety nets when needed where substance abuse or mental health issues exist.
  • Real estate professionals who can walk parties through their options both as to housing and lending requirements.
  • Referrals to other resources to give high-conflict parties more insight into the real issues and help them laser focus on solutions rather than blame and acrimony.
  • Modeling by the professionals of communication and conflict resolution skills.

If you don’t want to be a “frequent flyer,” and want to find a more peaceful, efficient, and productive process for divorce than litigation may provide, consider out-of-court settlement processes. Consult with a settlement-oriented attorney who is also trained in or fully informed about out-of-court dispute resolution to get a true assessment about whether your case really needs to go to Court or if there are other options. The courthouse doors are always there if you need them, so you have little to lose, and much to gain. Learn more about the alternatives to litigation.

Contact us to help you with your family law matter.