Yes. As part of their training, collaborative lawyers learn how to deal with high-conflict individuals. We are also trained with mental health professionals providing guidance on how to identify people who have personality disorders. There’s a range of people on the spectrum, some of whom are on the low end and are very easily able to succeed in life. You have to set boundaries for parties with personality disorders, just like you would do in dealing with them in litigation or any other kind of encounter. However, with good coaches and mental health professionals involved in the collaborative case, it is possible to work with people who have personality disorders.
Founding partner of McGaughey & Spirito in Redondo Beach, California, Joe Spirito has been practicing family law since 1982 and is currently serving as secretary of the Los Angeles County Bar’s Family Law Section.