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Conflict Resolution and Mediation

In a perfect world, all divorces would be amicable and both parties would agree on everything the first time. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world and divorce is oftentimes fraught with tension and conflict. Mediation can be used as a tool to resolve this conflict in a timely manner so that both parties involved will be able to reach an agreement and move forward with their lives. Conflict resolution and mediation go hand in hand. After all, the purpose of choosing a mediator to help with a divorce is to avoid going through a long, drawn out, messy process. Mediation allows for the mature, calm discussion of the issues at hand, and helps both parties to work together to reach a solution that works for everyone involved. Conflict resolution is an integral part of this process – not only as a means to resolve problems, but as a foundation for how to handle future disputes in a positive, productive way.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years as a divorce mediator, it’s that people deal with conflict differently. Some get angry and lash out, others get emotional, and still others shut down altogether. Each of these reactions forms a communication barrier and can cause further damage to an already fragile situation. The goal of conflict resolution is to help divorcing spouses open the doors to effective communication so that they can resolve the issues at hand and continue to move forward. Without conflict resolution, the situation can become stagnant and more volatile, which isn’t good for anyone involved. That’s why we take a team approach and engage both an Accredited Professional Divorce Mediator and a Certified Professional Coach to aid in the divorce mediation process. By having two professionals actively involved in your divorce, the legal, financial and emotional aspects are managed in a peaceful and cost-effective way, saving you time, money and heartache in the process. When it comes to conflict resolution and mediation, there are several things to keep in mind:

  • Never involve others in your dispute. This is especially important when there are children involved. Divorce is already an emotional and difficult life change for children. They should never be forced to take sides or participate in any type of dispute between their divorcing parents. All issues should be handled exclusively between the divorcing spouses, with the mediator there to assist and guide toward a resolution.
  • Avoid passive-aggressive behaviors and actions. Sometimes in an effort to avoid being hurt further, one spouse may exhibit behavior that indirectly harms the other. For instance, resisting requests that were previously agreed upon, procrastinating, or just being generally stubborn are all passive-aggressive behaviors and only serve to further frustrate the other spouse and stagnate the entire process. Conflict resolution and mediation counteract this by encouraging open, honest communication by both parties.
  • Conflict resolution is not about changing the other person. Some people come into my office with the mistaken idea that I will be able to help them change their soon-to-be ex-spouse. This is simply not true. The purpose of conflict resolution is not to create autonomy between both parties, but rather to reach a middle ground that everyone can feel comfortable with.
  • Many third parties are not “impartial”. While other people with whom you both have relationships, such as friends or family members, may want to help with good intentions, chances are they are not completely impartial in their feelings. For conflict resolution to be most effective, it must be managed by a completely unbiased party, which is where mediation comes into play. It’s best to leave other personally interested parties out of the process.

Conflict-ridden relationships are never pleasant, and they can be particularly detrimental when there are children involved. These types of interactions bring out negative behaviors and are unproductive and unhealthy. By working with both a Certified Professional Coach and Accredited Professional Divorce Mediator, effective conflict resolution can help divorcing spouses to define a new relationship with one another – one that is based on mutual respect, mature communication and positive interactions that focus on the future, rather than the painful past. Through effective conflict resolution and mediation, you and your spouse can be on the road to peace and civility in no time.

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New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, meaning that the division of property in a divorce is to be done fairly, not necessarily equally. The court can take into consideration any factor it deems relevant when dividing property, but it must consider certain factors, such as how long the couple was married and the age and health of both spouses, the income or property brought to the marriage by each spouse, the standard of living that was achieved during the marriage, and the extent to which one spouse may have deferred career goals, among others.
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