High conflict couples are driven to wield unbridled power. In high conflict relationships, dominating the other spouse or family members takes precedence over reasonable communications.
In the midst of child custody disputes, high conflict couples are riddled with anger and fear—which in no way help them reach agreeable solutions. Mediation, arbitration and, in rare instances, informal negotiations, can help these couples resolve child custody disputes.
How are high conflict couples described?
Power is what makes the relationship tick for high conflict couples—it can also be what ultimately dissolves the union. Strong negative emotions, like blame, guilt and resentment, prevent high conflict couples from reaching amiable resolutions in child custody disputes.
Given their extreme feelings of distrust, high conflict couples view even minor slights from one partner as monstrous attempts at injury toward the other. Destructive tendencies in high conflict couples promote a cycle of negativity, one that prevents peaceful negotiations in child custody disputes.
The fiercely antagonistic feelings between high conflict couples severely undermines their ability to provide an environment that is conducive to the well-being of their child. In such cases, joint custody between high conflict couples promises to have a detrimental effect on the child.
Why is joint custody not advised in high conflict couples?
Leveraging power is often the goal of one spouse or both spouses in high conflict relationships. When a history of abuse is present, joint custody only allows the abusing spouse to continue exerting power over the other spouse and the children.
Two primary reasons make joint custody unadvisable in circumstances where high conflict couples engage in abuse. First, when children side with the abusive parent and learn aggressive tendencies, the cycle of abuse is likely to be perpetuated. Second, joint custody re-victimizes the spouse.
What is the role of mediation in child custody disputes?
By definition, mediation suggests that peaceful cooperation between parents is necessary for successful negotiations to take place. Between high-conflict couples, accord is hardly likely. Mediation requires openness, honesty and direct communication between the divorcing parties in order to resolve disputes.
High-conflict couples rarely become cooperative during mediation processes. Mediation does not transform antagonistic spouses into agreeable ones. However, some experts believe that mediations held by trained mediators are less damaging to children than the legal battles fought out in court.
Mediators trained and experienced in domestic violence, emotional trauma in children, power issues and who have knowledge of the negative consequences of joint custody in high conflict couples are the most skilled to successfully conduct mediations between high conflict families.
Mediation is not recommended for high conflict couples when domestic violence is evident. One spouse is easily intimidated by the dominating one, leading to unfair or unjust resolutions. Mediation may be accomplished, however, by mediators skilled in family violence situations and with the consent of both parents.
What is a pre-mediation screening?
High-conflict couples engage in child custody disputes must undergo a pre-mediation screening. The screening is critical to determining whether or not disputes would benefit from mediation. To protect family violence victims, screenings are done individually as opposed to joint sessions.
Sometimes courts refer high conflict couples to mediation, although they are unlikely candidates. One spouse may be open to reasonable negotiations, while the other is bent on aggression. A pre-mediation screening rules out mediation when the uncooperative parent sabotages the process.
Does mediation move child custody disputes forward?
Spouses with histories of family violence may find their child represented by an appointed Attorney Ad Litem (AAL). These professionals serve in addition to the mediator to bring about an agreeable resolution for both spouses while taking into account the well-being of the children.
Mediations may take place over the course of several months. Time is critical when attempting to resolve child custody disputes, especially in cases where family violence has taken place, since the safety and protection of the children are at stake. Successful mediation can end child custody battles.
Is arbitration a viable solution to child custody disputes?
While mediation allows high-conflict couples to actively engage in making decisions regarding child visitation or custody, arbitration requires the input of an objective third party, such as a judge or jury. The third party’s decision is rarely final, as parents may later resolve their issue in court.
Why are informal negotiations impractical with high conflict couples?
High-conflict couples who vie for power and control are hardly ideal candidates for informal negotiations, especially since a willingness to cooperate is essential to successful outcomes. High-conflict spouses may, however, hire a divorce attorney to negotiate their positions on their behalf.
Both mediation and arbitration are forms of alternate dispute resolution (ADR). The latter is far more structured than mediation. However, high-conflict couples who are vehemently opposed to collaborating on the future of their children may find arbitration services appropriate.
Via either mediation or arbitration, high-conflict couples have an opportunity to come to a child custody agreement that warrants court approval. This binding parenting agreement compels each party to adhere to the negotiated details or be subject to the legal consequences.
Work with a Divorce Attorney
High-conflict spouses who aim to battle out their differences regarding child custody issues should seek legal representation from a qualified child custody attorney. Allen Gabe Law, P.C., is positioned to fight for the rights of Illinois’ mothers and fathers.
Lawyers at Allen Gabe Law, P.C., are knowledgeable in the various facets of Illinois family law, which includes the areas of child custody and child support. Our attorneys bring years of legal skill and experience to cases involving joint and full custody issues and shared parenting. The attorneys at Allen Gabe Law, P.C. are dedicated to presenting clients with all their legal options surrounding child custody.
Families living in Schaumburg, Illinois, turn to the child custody lawyers at Allen Gabe Law, P.C. for our honesty, competence and respect during the trying times often seen in child custody issues. When you expect to be involved in a child custody or child support dispute, seek the expert legal counsel of the family law attorneys at Allen Gabe Law, P.C.
We are available at 847-241-5000, ext. 121 to schedule an initial consultation.