High Conflict Divorce & Family Law
Alberta’s legal and judicial system has made great strides in encouraging parties to choose Alternative Dispute Resolution forums like mediation, arbitration, collaborative law, and other variants thereof. Ideally, any couple heading toward divorce will choose the path of least resistance. They will try to reduce conflict, build goodwill and reach an agreement on a comprehensive solution. The boardroom is now the preferred forum for Divorce & Family Law cases.
However, in some cases, it is the character or nature of one or both parties that will lead to high conflict litigation. Regardless of the reason, high-conflict litigation cases share one thing: there is no common ground between the litigants at all.
Ex-spouses at High Conflict
The tone, pace and progress in a dispute can often be determined by the personality of either spouse. Some spouses are obsessed with winning and view compromise as an admission to defeat. These spouses will be well-suited for military metaphors. They are more likely to engage in “wars of destruction” than they are to fear “mutually assured destruction”. They don’t care about their financial or emotional exposure and invest heavily in maintaining or acquiring a favorable balance of power.
High Conflict Divorce and Family Law Issues
Some Divorce & Family Law issues are more prone to conflict than others, despite the fact that they can be interpreted differently by different people. It is really “art vs. science”. Those matters that can be interpreted by the individual and those that require less interpretation are both open to interpretation.
There are less points that can be debated, such as those with strong presumptions, formulas, or laws. High conflict is lessened for financial impasses that can easily be resolved by outsourcing to an impartial expert.
High conflict can result in matters that involve the parties’ personal memories, opinions, or value judgments. The parties can take widely differing positions if the law or legislation governing the issue allows them to have a lot of discretion.
High Conflict Divorce and Family Law Experts
High conflict divorce and Family Law cases can be financially and emotionally difficult. It is a good idea to have strong support networks to help you through the process.
You should also ensure that you hire the right lawyer. The style of your lawyer is just as important as their substantive expertise. The reputation, profile, and character of your chosen lawyer will be crucial to your success in Divorce & Family cases that are high-conflict.
This type of litigation can only be managed by lawyers who have a unique combination. They will be responsible for holding the opposition accountable in a manner that is ethical, responsible and vigorous. Family Lawyers are not all trained in this approach. Many lawyers are, to their credit, better equipped for ADR. They are able to resolve disputes amicably, and many of them will openly admit that acrimonious Divorce & Family cases are out of their comfort zone.
High conflict Divorce & Family Lawyers who are the best at compartmentalizing cases are also the most successful. They are not parodies or caricatures. They have extensive substantive knowledge and a vast amount of experience using the tools available to them. While they don’t cause or exacerbate conflict in any way, these lawyers are comfortable working within it. They can also seamlessly transition to an ADR model if the opportunity arises. They can provide sound legal advice and will be happy to receive fully-informed instructions. They will fully commit to optimizing the client’s outcome in any forum that is chosen.