During the holidays, stress and tension can mount, andÂ you may experience increased pressure and friction with so much going on during the business of the season. This time of year canÂ cause couples to reflect on their relationship and marriage, particularly if conflict is present in the relationship. If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to note that there is no such thing as an easy divorce. While one person rarely carries all the blame, there are circumstances where psychological problems between the couple become too much to bear. When one spouse suffers from a mental illness such as borderline, histrionic, antisocial or narcissistic personality disorder, the conflict can reach new levels. These individuals are referred to by attorneys as "High Conflict People" or HCPs. Here are some things you should know about dealing with High Conflict People in a divorce mediation.
Not All HCPs Have Disorders
While those with the above-listedÂ personality disorders are classic examples of HCPs, a disorder is not necessarily a prerequisite for high conflict. Many people who are not diagnosed with a mental illness can still exhibit a chronic capacity to place blame, emotional outbursts, pessimistic thinking, a lack of willingness to accept responsibility for actions or absolutism in thought and action.
Personality vs. Issues
While you may be dealing with a split in property or possessions, or financial issues such as child support or alimony or evenÂ custody problems, the actual problem on the table could be personality conflict. In fact, most disagreements have personality at their core. If the divorce is being dragged out, you may be dealing with a high conflict person.
Why This Occurs
Why would an HCP want to drag out an already painful situation? There are multiple reasons this may occur, including:
- HCPs have difficulty negotiating.Â Compromise is not in the nature of an HCP, so they play to win every single situation. If things are not going their way, they keep fighting.
- HCPs create chaos and conflict.Â These types of people feed off of chaos. Aggression and blame are the way they relate to other people.
- They display oppositional defiance.Â Is there something they know you want? An HCP will always try to keep it from you.
- HCPs display a failure to stay on task.Â Whenever things start to go against them, a high conflict personality will try to go off on a tangent or change the subject. This makes negotiation difficult.
What to Do?
If you are dealing with a high conflict situation, the best things you can do are stay the course and pick your battles. Let your mediator, arbitrator and/or attorney know what the non-negotiable areas are for you. If you have any leverage against this person, be willing to use it. Pick your battles wisely â€” give a little to get a lot in the end. Any time you reach an agreement, put it in writing and get a binding signature.
Finally, remember that you are getting divorced. Itâ€™s time to let go of this person and not allow them to push your buttons. Itâ€™s almost over and the finish line is in sight.
Have you had issues with high conflict persons in a divorce situation? Are you considering pursuing a divorce with a high conflict person? Connect with us to learn more about how to get started.
Is Arbitration a Long Process? What Are the Factors that Impact the Time for Arbitration?
There are several advantages of arbitration over traditional litigation when dealing with matters of divorce. Length of time can certainly be considered one of the advantages of arbitration when working through your separation or divorce.Â The length of an arbitration varies depending on the availability of the parties, the arbitrator and any legal counsel involved, the number and complexity of the issues requiring resolution and the number of witnesses involved in the arbitration hearing.
Typically an arbitration lasts between one (1) and ten (10) days. An arbitration award (the binding decision rendered by the arbitrator) is rendered within one month of the conclusion of the arbitration hearing. This can be much quicker than a divorce or separation proceeding that entails litigation and the courts, which may be important to certain couples and families.
You can read more about the advantages of arbitration here.
To learn more about the arbitration process and to find out if arbitration may be the right fit for you, connect with our team to book an initial consultation and get started.
For recently divorced parents, managing divorce through the holidays can be an especially difficult time for both you, your children and your entire family. This is especially true if your children are spending the holidays with the other parent. There can be feelings of depression and loss on the part of the parent who feels left out, and it can be tempting to all but ignore the holiday altogether.
Many parents who feel this way avoid going out with their friends and celebrating with other family members, determined to avoid any holiday cheer in the absence of their children. For some, this feels like an act of love, a confirmation of how important their children are to them. They feel that celebrating without their kids would be a betrayal, and that by voiding their own happiness during the holidays they are paying some sort of parental penance.
Here are a few tips on managing your divorce during the holidaysÂ to help you (and your family!), just in time for this festiveÂ season.
Children Know When Youâ€™re Unhappy
Children tend to be very self-centred by nature - itâ€™s a part of growing up. As a result, it can be easy to forget that our kids notice more than they let on a lot of the time. Even if you think your emotional distress is being hidden, itâ€™s likely that theyâ€™ll still pick up on it on some level, especially if your plans for the holidays involve isolating yourself from family and friends.
Your kids love you, and older children are usually smart enough to figure out that you didnâ€™t have a fabulous time holed up in your bedroom during the holidays. As a result, parental depression during the holidays can be a dark cloud over a childâ€™s time with the other side of the family. No matter how sad you feel when your kids leave for the holidays, no parent wants to spoil that time for their child.
Your Emotions Affect Your Children
Itâ€™s important for parents to try and keep up their outside relationships and enjoy the holidays as much as is possible without their kids. It will be easier for the children to enjoy their own holidays with one parent if they know the other parent is spending time with family and friends.
Putting effort into your own happiness will benefit your children in many ways, especially when it comes to coping with a parental divorce. Parents who adjust and accept the situation set a good example for their children when it comes to coping with adversity.
We hope this advice helps you to get the next season with poise and strength! Are you managing a divorce during the holidays? Any insightÂ or resourcesÂ you can share with our readers that have helped you?
Happy holidays from Jones Divorce Mediation Inc., and our entire team in Calgary!
Questions about this article or our blog? Do you want to connect about mediation or arbitration services in Calgary? Questions about managing divorce during the holidays?Â Click here to get in touch with us.