Contact us 24/7 206-659-6839

Blog

MANAGING HIGH CONFLICT DIVORCE

Posted by Michelle Dellino | Nov 17, 2015 | 0 Comments

Managing high conflict

The experience of a divorce is unique to each individual. Even within a couple, each spouse's experience is separate and distinct. In general, divorce is an emotional and painful process with stress and conflict often prevalent. Even in the best of circumstances, divorce is hard.

In the best case scenario of divorce, a couple will split amicably and handle things with fairness and respect. If there are children involved, they will put aside their differences to create a logical and reasonable parenting plan. Maybe it is a friendly divorce where the couple remains pleasant with each other and even involved in each other's lives, or perhaps the arrangement is more business-like and involves a clean separation. Sounds great, right?

It's not always so simple. Generally the experience of divorce falls on a spectrum, ranging from low conflict (as described above) to high conflict. In high conflict divorce, everything is exponentially difficult. If you are facing divorce and contending with a contentious, conflictive spouse, resolving things amicably may not be possible. The combativeness and conflict between the divorcing spouses can be destructive and incredibly damaging to themselves, their children, and even extended family and friends.

The High Conflict Institute (HCI) provides resources for dealing with high conflict people and details some useful research. Looking at what personality traits are typical with a high conflict personality can shed light on the challenges that may ensue in a high conflict divorce. The HCI describes high conflict individuals as those that have a repetitive pattern of high conflict behavior that increases conflict rather than resolving it. High conflict personalities commonly involve frequent:

  • All or nothing thinking
  • Unmanaged emotions
  • Extreme behaviors
  • Blaming others

In divorce, this can translate to refusal to compromise, unreasonable demands, excessive blame, and manipulative behavior. High conflict spouses are likely to be impulsive and emotionally reactive.

How do deal with a high conflict divorce:

In another article, the HCI describes the 4 D's of high conflict divorce. These tips are recommended to help minimize the extreme stress involved in this process:

  • Disengage: Pull back from the physical, verbal, and emotional attacks of your high-conflict spouse. Understand your triggers and develop a strategy for how to cope when triggered that does not involve fighting back. Find a way to disengage.
  • Decide: There are so many decisions to be made, especially when co-parenting is involved. If you are in a highconflict situation, amicable compromise is likely not possible. It is recommended that you set a clear agenda for focusing on decisions that need to be made in order to avoid detour into murky, emotional, triggering territory. Communicate by way of proposals and alternate proposals and remember to stay
  • Deliver: When communicating by email, remove all emotional words and keep your emails brief. BIFF  is a book and website that advises about how to respond to high conflict people: Brief, Informative, Friendly, and Firm
  • Document: Document everything that is happening. Keep notes of interactions, outcomes, dates, and times in order to protect yourself from being manipulated.

When it comes to high conflict divorce, it is essential that you do not try to tackle it alone. If you are facing divorce with a high conflict spouse, you need support in managing the process.  Contact an experienced family law attorney to represent and advise you appropriately. We also recommend that you rally your social support network. Be sure to have trusted family members or friends for emotional support and strongly consider working with a therapist for objective outside support. Surround yourself with people who value your happiness and welfare and have your best interest in mind.

Our attorneys at Dellino Law Group are highly skilled and experienced in managing divorces on all parts of the conflict spectrum, including very high conflict divorce. Our family law attorneys are well-versed in the sensitive nature of this topic area. We are prepared to help you navigate the process, offer sound legal advice and counsel, and ultimately reach a resolution. Please contact us for a consultation.

About the Author

Michelle Dellino

Michelle Dellino is the Managing Attorney of Dellino Law Group. She believes there is a solution to every problem. Her practice focuses primarily on complex family law matters including high asset dissolutions; high conflict cases; long term marriage dissolution; cases involving business owners, IT, and medical professionals; domestic violence family law; and preparing cohabitation, prenuptial, and postnuptial agreements. Favorite things include: multi-tasking, competition, travel, baseball, technology, a big view of the Olympic Mountains, and the outdoors. Primary dislikes include: Chinese food, passive aggression and apathy. Also: owned by trio of dachshunds, 2 cats & 1 big dog.

Comments

There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

This is the Next Step in your life

You have done the research, you are tired of waiting, and you are ready to move forward with this process. The next step is to meet with our team to learn your rights and options for moving forward with your life. If you’re ready, click the ‘call us’ button now and put the process safely in your attorney’s hands today.Call or Text

CLIENT PAYMENTS

Pay_Your_Invoice

Menu