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Four Strategies for Dealing With A High Conflict Divorce


Even under the best of circumstances, the end of a marriage is painful, and it is not uncommon for one partner or the other to act out in ways that make these proceedings more contentious. While some of these situations end up smoothing out over time, others involve issues and personality types that make agreeing on anything next to impossible. High conflict divorce cases can leave you feeling battle weary and embittered. While you probably have already come to terms with the fact that you cannot control your former spouse’s behavior, there are strategies you can use to help protect yourself and your emotions, while helping to ensure a more favorable outcome in your divorce case.

What Is A ‘High Conflict’ Divorce?

According to Princeton University researchers, high conflict divorces generally involve a strong level of distrust between the parties, acting out in hateful behavior or attitudes, and may also include verbal or physical abuse and recriminations. The Princeton study identified three main types of conflicts which can occur:

  • Domain conflicts: These include conflicts over divorce related issues, such as property division, alimony, and parenting plans involving children;
  • Tactical conflicts: These refer to the manner in which conflicts are handled, and include behaviors such as name calling, blaming, and physical threats;
  • Attitude related conflicts: These refer to the underlying attitudes the parties carry into the divorce proceedings, such as hostility, stubbornness, and feelings of wanting revenge.

Strategies To Use During and After Your Divorce

Enduring the drama of constant fighting and bickering during your marriage and through divorce proceedings can leave your nerves and your self-esteem in tatters. Fighting fire with fire is tempting, but it often only escalates an already contentious situation and reduces you to your former partner’s level. Instead, a Huffington Post report on dealing with high conflict personalities both during and after divorce proceedings recommends adopting the following four strategies:

  • Minimize the amount of contact between you and your spouse. Let your attorney handle negotiations and any communications that are required.
  • Do not share or act on your feelings. Stick with the facts, keep your cool, and remember you are dealing with a bully.
  • Be ready for future conflicts. Document emails and phone calls you receive, and keep detailed notes regarding your interactions and any agreements your former spouse fails to keep.
  • Do not admit wrongs. While you may think an apology for any wrongs you have committed might help, it is more likely to be perceived as a sign of weakness and used against you in future proceedings.

If your situation escalates to physical threats and abuse, get to a safe place and notify local law enforcement immediately.

Our Florida Divorce Attorney Can Help

If you are going through a separation or are contemplating a divorce, contact the Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC  today. Our experienced Florida divorce attorney provides the aggressive legal representation you need when dealing with a high conflict spouse, and can help to ensure both your rights and interests are protected.




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