When you and your spouse first fell in love, the world looked very different. Birds sang louder, flowers smelled sweeter, and it felt like the universe was on your side. You treated each other like royalty, and nothing was too good for the life you were building together.
But after many good years, something happened. Something turned sour.
Maybe you can’t define it, or even quite identify it. But something’s not right. So after months of couple’s therapy, working hard on your communication skills and trying to reconnect with those feelings that made the two of you fall in love in the first place, you’ve decided that no matter how hard you try—and how badly you want it to work—your marriage is headed for divorce.
What comes next will either be relatively smooth-going, or it might become a total nightmare. Predicting how you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse will behave during the divorce can help you and your attorney prepare legally and emotionally for the experience, and help determine how much professional support you’ll need to have to get through the process reasonably unscathed.
The Conflict Spectrum
Developed by the Ilumni Institute, an organization dedicated to teaching real estate professionals how to support family law attorneys through effective management of divorce real estate transactions, the Conflict Spectrum is a scale that measures the tension in a divorcing couple’s relationship. By measuring the level of conflict a couple will be likely to experience during a divorce proceeding, the parties can better equip themselves with the tools and support they’ll need to successfully navigate the divorce.
Rated on a percentage scale from 10% – 100%, the Conflict Spectrum is segmented into five categories, as follows:
10%: Still Friends
You and your spouse are friendly, maybe even good pals. You still make all your decisions together and, depending on your circumstances, you may even be able to navigate the divorce without help from attorneys. You’ll still need a real estate agent to advise you on what to do with your home, so consider meeting with a Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert (CDRE) who can provide you with insights and advice that goes beyond what a regular real estate agent will provide, but at no additional cost.
You and your spouse are cordial, but you may disagree on terms here and there. It’s not an all-out war, but you’ll probably need the help and advice of professionals. At this level, you and your spouse may be able to settle your divorce with the help of a paralegal and a Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert. The CDRE’s job is to represent the property, not either individual spouse, so the CDRE can meet both parties on neutral ground—and they work with attorneys on both sides to make sure the outcome is in the best interest of both spouses.
50%: At Risk
You and your spouse experience intermittent conflict, and sometimes there’s risk of escalation. You can make many decisions together, but you prefer to stay apart as often as possible. At 50%, it’s time to seriously consider bringing attorneys on board, and you’ll definitely want to enlist the help of a CDRE.
70%: High Conflict
You and your spouse feel alienated from each other, so collaborating on decisions is rarely, if ever, possible. You’ll almost certainly need attorneys working on your behalf to get through this kind of divorce, and a Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert can mediate between you and your spouse when you have to make tough decisions about the house. Having a CDRE on your side can help preserve the equity in your most valuable financial asset by selling it for top price and preventing it from becoming a pawn in a frivolous game of tug-of-war.
100%: Highest Conflict
This is the worst kind of divorce. The parties are warring, there may be restraining orders and/or domestic violence, substance abuse, or toxic personality disorders on one or both sides. A divorce like this will be nearly impossible to navigate safely without a lot of support, especially from a pair of qualified attorneys and a Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert who can help mediate the real estate portion of your divorce, working with both attorneys to ensure an equitable outcome for both spouses.
Find Qualified Real Estate Help
If you have divorce real estate questions or need more help determining where you and your spouse sit on the Conflict Spectrum, give me a call. As a Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert, I’m trained to work with homeowners and their attorneys to navigate any type of residential real estate transaction, no matter where it sits on the Conflict Spectrum.