Nobody wants to go through a divorce. In fact, many people will try to avoid one at all costs. That is because divorce is an emotional experience. It can be difficult even under the best circumstances. Even if you and your spouse get along well, it can be a rough time. It can be especially rough if your spouse wants to start conflict.
Ideally, both parties would agree to the divorce and try to resolve it as amicably as possible. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. High-conflict divorces are common, especially when there are a lot of assets at stake. A vindictive personality by one or both spouses can also lead to high conflict.
If you are dealing with a high-conflict divorce, do not try to handle it on your own. You need the right legal help on your side. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you navigate such a complicated divorce.
Signs of a High Conflict Divorce
You can prepare for a high-conflict divorce by knowing the signs. Here is what you need to be aware of:
- Argumentativeness. In a high-conflict divorce, there are a lot of arguments. Your spouse will try to start conflict constantly and have the last word on everything. They will endlessly engage with you just to irritate you, turning everything into combat.
- Revenge. Some spouses will seek revenge on the other party, especially if there is bitterness or anger due to some issue, such as infidelity or money matters. A person who is seeking revenge does not behave rationally. They want to cause as much damage as possible to the other person, whether it is emotional or financial in nature.
- Inability to compromise. In a divorce, it is best if the couples can agree on everything, or at least on some matters. However, there are some spouses who refuse to negotiate on anything. They do this on purpose. First, they do not want to lose anything. Second, they want to make the process as painful as possible for their spouse. This will make the divorce high-conflict.
- Deceit. If your spouse is lying about everything, the web of deception will eventually become so thick that it will be hard to tell what is true and what is not. A deceptive spouse will be untruthful about everything and may even go so far as to hide assets. A thorough investigation will be necessary.
- Blame. Instead of working to resolve the issues in a divorce, a spouse may choose to blame the other party. They may be so focused on the other person’s behavior and mistakes. They may even create false situations in which the other person is to blame.
- Mental illness. Having a mental illness can lead to high-conflict divorce. For example, narcissists do not care about others and will do what they can to make themselves look like perfect people. A person with a borderline personality disorder may become more reactive than usual and make threats toward you. These situations can be frustrating to deal with, so let your lawyer know if your spouse has a mental illness.
- Parenting issues. Parental alienation is common in a divorce. This is when one parent pits the children against the other parent. They will say negative things about the other parent, claiming that the parent does not love their children and wants nothing to do with them, even though this is untrue. There are also helicopter parents who have to control every aspect of their children. They cannot bear the thought of spending time without their children, which can cause them to lash out.
How to Protect Yourself
You need to protect yourself in a high-conflict divorce. Here’s how you can prepare:
- Talk to a lawyer. Consult with a lawyer and let them know about your situation. They can help you understand the laws and give you advice about what you can and cannot do.
- Know how to communicate. Any communication by you or your spouse can be used against you. While you may want to yell, scream, and cuss at your spouse, you need to be kind and calm. Use the BIFF form of communication: brief, informative, friendly, and firm.
- Consider negotiation. While it may be difficult, it is possible to negotiate with a high-conflict spouse. Ask your lawyer for advice. Some are good at negotiating, while others may be able to recommend a good mediator who can help you and your spouse resolve your issues.
- Prepare for court. Negotiation does not always end with a favorable result. In a high-conflict divorce, you will more than likely have to go to court to hash things out. It is important to have a lawyer who can help in this regard. Find someone who does not have trouble going to court. They can guide you through the process and help you understand what to expect.
- Get emotional support. Venting with friends and family can help you as you navigate a high-conflict divorce. However, it may be even more helpful to seek counseling from a therapist who has dealt with people with personality disorders.
Seek Legal Help
While you may want to get your divorce finalized as soon as possible, your spouse may want to drag things out and argue over everything. This can be a frustrating situation, which is why the right legal help is important.
Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler can help with negotiations and reduce stress in your divorce. Fill out the online form or call (954) 346-6464 to schedule a consultation.