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Separated Parents: Choose – Litigation Trap or Conflict Resolution

October 5, 2015

Did you know that how you choose to resolve your separation issues today can determine the likelihood and nature of future disputes? One choice can lead to a revolving door of ongoing conflict and acrimony. The other can facilitate peaceful co-existence.

If you chose to work with lawyers whose expertise is litigation, there is a likelihood that they will send blame and demand letters to each other which in turn ratchets up conflict. With that style of dispute resolution, people try to advance their position by outlining how they are better or more deserving than the other while trying to demonstrate how the other is less deserving and worse as a person or parent. As you can imagine, few would appreciate to be on the receiving end of those kind of letters and you can understand why this can lead to ongoing litigation. Even when a matter is decided at trial, the bad feelings and conflict doesn’t go away. One parent may feel vindicated in the moment but at the resolve of the other to eventually undo the decision to their favor. This means that the one pleased with the outcome has a target on their back placed there by the person dissatisfied, waiting to get even. This chart demonstrates the litigation trap;

litigation-cycleIf you choose to work with a conflict resolution specialist (counselors, mediators, collaborative lawyers, divorce financial professionals), then there is a likelihood of not only resolving the conflict, but accepting the outcome and learning to resolve future matters peacefully.  That process looks like this:


Conflict resolution processes keep you front and center. You determine the outcome you can live with. Because you make choices throughout, you can craft an agreement acceptable to both parents. This lends itself to peace.

If you are unsure what process is right for you, interview those who practice differently. Speak with litigators and speak with different conflict resolution specialists. Make an informed decision and choose what is right for you.

(Download both images in a single PDF file to use freely.)

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker.

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

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Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America.

If your relationship is faltering, then set it as your priority.

Read: Marriage Rescue: Overcoming ten deadly sins in failing relationships.

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  1. Susan Mehl permalink

    I was forced into trial. Mediation was successful except for one issue. I prevailed but as stated it created post trial acrimony. I work with families and consistently propose mediation. Question? How do I broaden my client base?

  2. Thanks for your comment. Sadly, litigation creates more acrimony.

    To broaden your client base, consider these 4 key variables:

    I will be posting more on the subject of building a practice. Feel free to follow my blog…

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