Tips for Divorce Mediation With High Conflict Personalities
If you have a spouse who tends to thrive on conflict and create conflict whenever possible, you might be wondering whether mediation is even an option for your divorce.
The good news is that a skilled mediator can work through some conflict, so long as it doesn’t get out of control. Here are a few tips to keep in mind for mediation when you’re dealing with a conflict-prone spouse.
- Getting started: When mediators are aware of high-conflict issues in a relationship (or with a specific person), they will often avoid asking for opening statements, and instead ask for the specific decisions the couple hopes to make. This puts more of a focus on the collaborative nature of mediation rather than giving a chance for a high-conflict spouse to get on a soapbox.
- Stay calm: If your spouse starts to attempt to rile you up or start arguments in the mediation session, the best thing you can do is remain calm, as difficult as that can be. They are looking to get a reaction from you and you should not give them the satisfaction. Staying calm can also show them you are there to work, and that they will have to play by the rules if they are to get through mediation successfully.
- Build momentum: Aim for mutual agreement on even small issues to help you build momentum and potentially avoid conflict on some of the larger issues. Always start small so you can practice communication and get a feel for the flow of negotiations.
- Lean on your mediator: The mediator will not take any sides in your sessions, but they are very skilled at redirecting conversations, keeping people on task and defusing potential arguments with a variety of strategies. Don’t feel like you need to do the heavy lifting in guiding the conversation back to a safe and reasonable place.
- Be a good active listener: Give your spouse your attention and listen politely, then respond to their concerns and let them know you understand their viewpoint. People who feel heard are less likely to start conflict in such a setting.
For more tips about how you can work with a high-conflict spouse during your divorce mediation, contact an experienced Long Island divorce lawyer at Solutions Divorce Mediation.