Tips on Mediation with Conflict Personalities–Part 2

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce mediator; California Divorce MediatorsThis blog is a continuation of the previous blog titled “Tips to Mediation with Conflict Personalities–Part 1”. This blog series highlights the tips that a spouse can take when going into Orange County divorce mediation with a high-conflict personality spouse.

Here is a continuation of the tips. It is best that you read the first blog before reading this one to have a better understanding of the topic.

  • The problem with a high conflict spouse in a divorce is that they suffer from distortions and have a belief of being right always. This can take over and make them extremely persuasive, you need to stay well of any attempts of persuasion and maintain healthy skepticism.
  • Sometimes Orange County divorce mediation can start to get out of hands with high conflict personalities raging on with their unruly behavior. Even in times like these maintain your confidence and calm.
  • If you can, try and lower their levels of expectations. They might be looking to have everything from the Orange County divorce for themselves and gentle reminders here and there that this is not the case, will help them deal with the final agreement better.
  • Make sure you don’t come out as offensive to your spouses, even though they might be livid and unruly. Continue to respect them despite their taunts or antics.
  • Try to seek mutual agreements along the way with your HCP spouse, so that they have a feeling of being taken into confidence every step of the way.
  • Request the mediator to control the show of open emotions by either of the party. For a high conflict personality managing their emotions is next to impossible, which means once they start to vent their emotions, there may be no stopping them. Ask the mediator cut their vents before they start to go on long. Orange County mediators should merely acknowledge their emotions before leaving them in the backdrop and moving ahead.
  • If you are looking to make your point, try and not be directly offensive to your HCP spouses. In such cases, they would want to respond and retaliate creating a sticky situation.

Advice for Orange County divorce mediators on handling HCP personalities in mediation.

  • Tell the HCP spouse to keep a calm head and not react on proposals offered by the other spouse. Simply tell them to respond to proposals using single words such as a yes, no or a let’s see. Instead of giving them the podium to bash the living daylight out of the proposal and the proposing spouse.
  • Tell them that the process is on them, if they want to opt out they can but that their best realistic chance at a solution is through mediation.
  • When the two spouses finally agree on a solution for their Orange County divorce, make sure the agreement has strong non compliance clauses. It is best if you ask the HCP spouse to propose these.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, “What is Divorce Mediation.”