Conflict resolution is an approach used by courts to help remedy various family law issues. This is often seen as an alternative approach that aims to avoid confrontation by offering methods for the parties to work out their differences in a cooperative manner. Conflict resolution is also called reconciliation, which is a method or process that results in a peaceful ending to a conflict.

Many times, families have conflicts that require legal resolution and they want to solve this conflict without going through the court. This can be important if there are children involved.

Some examples of conflict resolution in a family law setting can include:

  • Alternative dispute resolution (ADR): This usually involves the help of a neutral third-party mediator who can moderate discussions between the conflicting parties
  • Family Intervention: This is where the court intercedes to provide solutions for pressing legal issues. In some cases, the court may act to provide protection for persons dealing with physical abuse, drug abuse, neglect, and other issues
  • Collaborative divorce: This is where the parties settle the bulk of their divorce issues outside of court (such as property distribution, custody, etc.). The court simply finalizes whatever agreement the parties come up with.

Conflict resolution basically revolves around the idea of the parties coming up with viable solutions for themselves, rather than having the court dictate what the outcome should be. Some methods, such as collaborative divorce, may still result in a legal ruling from the court, but there is typically less involvement with the judge.

When Is Conflict Resolution Used?

First of all, conflict resolution may be suggested in situations where the parties are able to communicate with each other in a cooperative and non-confrontational manner. If the parties cannot work peaceably with each other, or if there is a danger of physical harm, courts might not suggest conflict resolution and may instead issue their own ruling.

If conflict resolution is a possibility, it can be used to address matters such as:

  • Child custody and visitation
  • Spousal support and child support
  • Distribution of property (e.g. after a divorce)
  • Want to resolve the issue without going to court
  • Want to use to for a faster result
  • Want to use it for a cheaper result
  • Various other issues that can be mutually determined

In some cases, conflict resolution can occur over an extended period of time, such as when the parties need to meet on a regular basis during the family intervention process.

Is Conflict Resolution Required?

Conflict resolution is usually suggested as an option, and is generally not a mandatory procedure. In fact, conflict resolution may not always be a practical choice for dealing with disputes, especially if the parties are unwilling to work with each other. Conflict resolution is also more informal than a court proceeding, which many people would prefer.

On the other hand, many courts and judges promote conflict resolution as a way for the parties to resolve conflicts in a way that costs less and is less time-consuming than a lengthy court battle.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Conflict Resolution Methods?

Most conflict resolution methods occur out of court. However, the assistance of a lawyer is almost always needed for conflict resolution meetings, since the parties may be discussing and negotiating regarding important life decisions. You may wish to hire a family lawyer for help during conflict resolution hearings and meetings.Your attorney can represent you and provide you with legal advice and guidance throughout the conflict resolution process.