Have you had enough of your marriage and just can't go through the motions anymore? If so, you may soon find yourself facing off against your spouse in one of California's family law courts.
Before you set the wheels in motion, however, consider whether this approach is in your family's best interests. Could your high-conflict divorce be better managed through mediation? Chances are good that it could.
How to identify a high-conflict divorce
If your divorce includes one or more of the following, you are on a collision course of a high-conflict divorce with your soon-to-be ex:
-- Infighting over custody or visitation matters
-- Extended court battles that never seem to get resolved
-- Protracted hostility between adults
-- Accusations of physical or sexual abuse or incidents of domestic violence
-- Complete breakdown in communications about the children's care
-- Issuance of orders of protection/no-contact orders
Don't let it go that far
Once a divorce is set in a hostile trajectory, it can be impossible to redirect it to levels where civil communication exists. The key is not allowing the situation to deteriorate that far.
According to some statistical research, only 10 percent of divorcing spouses are caught up in high-conflict separations and divorces. Once in that realm, it becomes highly unlikely that the status will change.
Can this divorce be saved?
Believe it or not, there is such a thing as a "good divorce," and it's not that elusive of a concept. However, it does require a commitment from both spouses that matters will be discussed civilly through a formal mediation process.
Sometimes battling spouses' behaviors can be curbed if they can grasp that high-conflict divorces result in exorbitantly high legal fees and resolutions where no one is satisfied, least of all the children.
The psychological cost of contentious divorces to the children is incalculable. Parents who have been blinded by misguided notions of making an ex "pay" for their role in the collapse of the marriage may have epiphanies where they realize that their children's mental and emotional health is more important than where the children spend their summer holidays.
Can all divorces be mediated successfully?
Unfortunately, no. Marriages where domestic violence flared up between the spouses will not qualify for mediated divorces because of the imbalance of power between the abuser and victim. It is these cases that require the oversight of the courts to keep one party from manipulating the other during mediation.
But in other cases, as long as the parties are willing to set aside their rancor, mediation paves the way to more amicable post-divorce relationships between former spouses. Ask your California family law attorney if your divorce could be more effectively handled via mediation.