While the dream is to float through life, blissful and calm, the reality is very different. We like to think of ourselves as rational people and able to deal with a situation, but occasionally, something crops up that we can’t handle. It’s disappointing to have to admit it to ourselves; that our mediation skills have failed. It’s another defeat compounding the original issue.

It doesn’t matter if your disagreement is with a person, a company, or both. The idea of bringing in legal help to resolve a solution is difficult for most of us to comprehend. We hang on to the idea that there is some magical way of fixing things, wanting to keep the lawyers – and their expense – out of it.

So these two competing philosophies rub up against one another. We want a resolution, know we’re getting nowhere, but we’re not ready for the next step of legal help.

It may be a divorce, a dispute with a neighbour or an employment issue – there comes a time you have to move on. If you ever find yourself in such a situation, then here’s a few signs that things have gone beyond discussion, and it’s time to call in Gillard Lawyers or similar help.

1. You’re arguing about how to argue.

You think that the matter should be discussed by email or letter. You think the extra time to craft replies is important, so no one says something in the heat of the moment. Your opponent disagrees; they want instant feedback. You spend more time arguing over how you should discuss this than you do actually discussing it.

2. It’s gone on for more than a month.

While some things – such as a divorce with custody issues – can take longer, four weeks is the cut off point. After this, it’s unlikely anyone has anything new to bring to the situation; you have made your points, but you still disagree. Anything further is just going to involve repeating yourself.

3. Talking of… repeating yourself

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Take the example of a neighbourhood dispute – are you actually saying different things to one another? For example:
“Your dog is barking and is keeping my child awake, why can you not keep him inside the house?”
And their response:

“My dog has a right to be outside! Dogs bark! Kids make noise and I don’t complain then.”

You might rephrase these arguments, but if the content is the same, then there’s no point continuing. Actually moving on from this would be along the lines of debating when the dog should be allowed out – with both of you compromising. If you’re both stuck on a point, then move on.

4. You’re dealing with someone who is abusive, or bordering on it.

People can disagree without defaulting to personal insults or raised voices. If the person you’re arguing with is doing this, then don’t even wait a month. Give them one chance to calm down and discuss things as rational adults. If they don’t, then engaging is going to make things worse, and bring in the expert help.