Conflict is not only apparent in legal disputes, but is a normal part of daily life. No matter the situation; at home, at school, or at work; individuals spend a lot of their time dealing with conflict. Especially in times of economic stress, family issues, and parental obligations, the number and level of importance of conflicts is bound to increase.
Conflict can quickly become a destructive force when individuals would rather pursue the quickest and easiest means of resolution rather than addressing the source of the problem. However, conflict can also become constructive and productive as long as the conflicting parties are willing to cooperate, compromise, and respect one another. Dealing with conflicts in a productive manner can uncover buried and ignored issues. These issues, as the source of the problem, become the basis for discussion and resolution. Destructive conflict will generally develop competitive and uncooperative relations between parties. In contrast, productive conflict will elicit cooperative relations to create a more stable foundation upon which to build reasonable and sustainable solutions.
The most important tool for productive conflicts and collaborative law is compromise. Compromise weighs the benefits and harms of different personalities. These contrasting personalities include individuals who are competitive, accommodative, collaborative, or who avoid conflict. Competitors tend to pursue their own goals, whereas accommodators neglect their own needs to satisfy the needs of others. Collaborators attempt to fully satisfy their own concerns and the concerns of others. Avoiders tend to neglect their own concerns as well as the concerns of others for various reasons. Compromisers utilize an intermediate level of cooperativeness and assertiveness to find mutual solutions. Collaborative lawyers, who are compromisers, assist individuals with these different personalities in order to reach a solution that addresses the concerns, goals, and interests of all parties involved in the conflict.
Compromise, cooperation, and respect ensure that any conflict becomes a productive conflict. Any family law issue will present an undesirable conflict that involves sensitive emotions and private personal information. Therefore, the best option to resolve a family law conflict and achieve sustainable results is through the collaborative law process.