Reducing and Resolving Conflict in Divorce

Peaceful Endings Foster Healthy New Beginnings For You and Your Family

Felicia A. Soleil, Attorney At Law/Mediator

I’m going to share a secret with you. Nothing that will violate attorney-client privilege, of course, but it is a detail that most divorcing people won’t talk about in public.

We all know about someone’s dramatic split from their spouse, their numerous and expensive court battles, and their tug-of-war with their kids. Whether you saw it play out in your neighborhood or on TV, would it surprise you to learn that this is not the norm?

Now here’s the secret:   The average separating couple typically ends their marriage through a quiet, confidential, and cost-efficient resolution.   They just don’t talk about it. Why not? Because “peacemaking” is often viewed as a sign of weakness, rather than what it actually is…….a sign of great strength.  Peacemaking takes courage and hard work, particularly when well-intentioned friends or family yearn for drama.

This is why aligning with the right divorce professional is so important.  When seeking separation or divorce, your choice of a legal professional can make the difference between not being able to sleep at night and finding peace of mind. Your attorney can help you make decisions about things you care about most, including your future financial security and creating a positive, two-home family for your children.

Selecting a divorce lawyer to handle this major life event is serious business.  It’s personal, emotional, and often expensive.   This decision should be handled from a wise perspective, and not based on your best friend’s recommendation to “lawyer up” or a family member’s opinion to “hire a pit bull.”  In fact, most of the lawyers I have worked with during my 25 years in family law practice know the value of resolving conflict in a peaceful, constructive, and reasonable manner, with as little court intervention as possible. Be wary of a divorce attorney who wants to immediately rush your case to a court hearing without attempting to seek resolution of your issues first. 

You should not only feel confident with the attorney’s level of experience, but you should also consider how their personality complements your own. How do you feel when you talk with him or her?  Do you feel respected, supported, calmed down?   Does the attorney listen to you, providing reasoned guidance?  Does the attorney caution you about both the strengths and the potential weaknesses of your positions?  How about helping you understand different perspectives other than your own?   Are you being educated about the law and your options, setting realistic expectations without being talked down to? 

Most importantly, do you feel the attorney will help defuse conflict, or ramp it up? Remember, conflict can be very expensive, more than just what you’ll pay in legal fees. Surprisingly, not all lawyers are trained to be skilled in conflict resolution.

Pay attention to what your intuition is telling you.  Being smart means empowering yourself with knowledge, while honoring your instincts. Ultimately, you will trust this professional through a life transition that profoundly affects your future.  When you choose wisely, with your long-term well-being in mind, you can find a peaceful solution and focus on moving on, not just moving out.

This article was recently featured in the May issue of Real Magazine, distributed on Fox Island, Canterwood, and beyond.  


Published on May 17, 2018