Navigating High Conflict Divorce

Navigating High Conflict DivorceDivorce is a stressful process for everyone involved, no matter how amicable the relationship between spouses remains throughout. Inevitably, every divorce will have some type of conflict that arises. In situations where a divorce is rife with conflict, the process can be even more difficult. Being able to recognize and navigate a high conflict divorce is an important part of successfully emerging from the process in a healthy, productive way. The following tips might help you successfully navigate a high conflict divorce.

Recognizing High Conflict Divorce

During your marriage, you have probably gotten to know your spouse very well. You understand a lot about his or her personality, the way he or she reacts to stressful situations, how he or she thinks and feels about certain things, and so on. Possibly the most important part of successfully navigating high conflict divorce is recognizing the risk factors that could indicate that you may be headed for one.

There are some indicators that a high conflict divorce could be on the horizon. One of those indicators is that you or the other person gravitates toward being controlling. According to, controlling people often share one or more of these characteristics:

  • Isolating you from family and friends;
  • Employing chronic criticism, even over small and/or unimportant things;
  • Making threats, either actual or implied;
  • Uses guilt as a tool;
  • Creates debts to which you are beholden; and
  • Pressuring you into activities you do not want to engage in or are uncomfortable with, among others.

This is certainly not an exhaustive list of the characteristics of controlling individuals. However, if you recognize any of these traits in your partner or have felt that you are in a controlling relationship, it could indicate that your divorce is likely to have a high degree of conflict.

If you have consistent difficulty communicating with your partner, you may also be on the road to a high conflict divorce. Given all of the emotions that are part of the divorce process, difficulty communicating can add to the degree of difficulty in solving mutual problems and working out a divorce settlement that is fair for both parties. This is especially likely in situations where one spouse wants to contest the divorce itself or the various elements of a divorce settlement. Often times, an inability to communicate can be a sure sign that there is trouble ahead in the divorce process.

Employing Solutions

As frustrating as high conflict divorce can be for all parties, it is possible to employ a variety of solutions to help make the experience easier. If you find yourself to be the source of high conflict in the divorce, working with a mental health professional can help you work through your emotions in a healthy manner so that you can approach divorce more productively.

However, therapy and the use of mental health experts is not limited to those who may find themselves to be the source of conflict. Mental health professionals typically recommend that anyone going through a high stress, life-changing event such as divorce seeks the help of a qualified mental health professional. Doing so can put you in a better position to communicate and effectively navigate the divorce process regardless of which side of conflict you may find yourself on.

Mediation is often a powerful tool in diffusing conflict during divorce. Trained mediators can help couples struggling to communicate effectively assert their wishes and work together productively to create a divorce settlement that is fair and balanced for both parties. Mediation can be an important step in preventing conflict as well as addressing it when it arises.

It is also important to realize your limitations. If you are capable of trying to effectively communicate in order to work out a divorce settlement that is fair for both parties but your spouse is not, sometimes you need to accept that mediation and other methods might not be the best choice for you. If you find yourself and your spouse at an impasse after several tries at productive negotiations, you may have to accept the fact that you will have to go to court to iron out the details of your divorce settlement. Be aware of the negotiation process as it progresses, and have a plan in place to shield yourself and your children from the potentially negative effects of traditional adversarial divorce litigation. This means preparing yourself and those involved for the mental and emotional strain that could accompany a more traditional courtroom divorce.

Do Not Take it Personally

It is important to remember that you cannot take high conflict situations personally, especially if you have taken steps to avoid them. If you start to take the situation personally, you may start blaming yourself for things that are not your fault. This can lead to you making unfair concessions or giving in on points that are important to you. Often, high conflict individuals can use high conflict situations to manipulate other people involved. Allowing yourself to take these situations personally, or allowing yourself to engage in conflict in the same way can ultimately put you in a weaker position and hinder your ability to effectively navigate a high conflict divorce.

Utilizing Professionals

It is important to recognize various areas within the divorce process where you can utilize outside professionals to make the process easier for everyone involved. In addition to trained mediators and mental health professionals, you may want to enlist the help of other professionals such as an experienced financial planner. They can be immensely helpful when dealing with the various aspects of divorce, especially when a lot of shared assets are in play. Your experienced Florida divorce attorney can also be an integral part of helping you access resources outside of the law that can have a significant impact on how well you are able to navigate divorce. If you are considering divorce or have already made the difficult decision to pursue divorce, contact Scott J. Stadler to schedule a consultation where you can find out more about the Florida divorce process. You can also find out more information about how your divorce could affect you or about various options for approaching a potentially high conflict divorce.