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Birmingham Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Divorce > What Do The Five Modes Of Conflict Management Have To Do With Your Divorce?

What Do The Five Modes Of Conflict Management Have To Do With Your Divorce?


When you and your spouse first got married, the things that stood out to you about her the most were her beautiful eyes and her contagious laughter.  Now that you are getting divorced, the most memorable thing about her is her conflict style.  The four horsemen of the communication breakdown are contempt, criticism, defensiveness, and stonewalling, and whichever one your beloved rode away on, you now have to get through your divorce case.  Except in cases where one partner has behaved so violently toward the other that the court does not deem it safe for the divorcing spouses to be in the same room together, all couples must go through divorce mediation.  Even though reaching an agreement with your estranged spouse may feel like an impossibility now, most couples are able to resolve all their property division and co-parenting issues during mediation without going to trial.  This process requires you to apply principles of conflict management.  A Birmingham divorce lawyer can help you manage conflict effectively so you can finalize your divorce without costly litigation.

What Are the Five Modes of Conflict Management?

The five modes of conflict management are applicable in any conflict situation, from war to business disputes to divorce.  None of them is inherently good or bad; you must decide on a case-by-case basis which mode, or which combination of modes, will best help you resolve the present conflict.  The five modes are as follows:

  • Accommodating – You agree to the other person’s demands in order to move past the conflict as quickly as possible. This is a mistake in divorce mediation, because a hastily written marital settlement agreement leaves you vulnerable to post-divorce disputes which will require you to come back to court.
  • Avoiding – You simply don’t discuss certain issues because discussing them is too stressful. It is also a mistake to do this in divorce, especially when it comes to parenting plans.
  • Competing – You are focused on the goal of getting what you want and making sure that your spouse does not get what he wants. When one or both parties are focused on competing during mediation, the case often ends up going to trial.
  • Compromising – Both parties in the conflict identify which demands are non-negotiable and which issues are the ones where they are open to meeting the other party in the middle. Both parties emerge with some of their original demands met, but the marital settlement agreement ends up being substantially different from either party’s divorce petition or response.
  • Collaborating – The parties go into mediation with open-ended expectations. They are both focused on the goal of achieving a feasible parenting plan and property division arrangement.

Contact Peeples Law About Conflict Management During Divorce

A Birmingham family law attorney can help you apply conflict management strategies to finalize a marital settlement agreement during divorce mediation without leaving the decision in the hands of a judge.  Contact Peeples Law today to schedule a consultation.



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