What Is a High-conflict Divorce?

Divorce can be an emotional and stressful process. But situations can become even more complicated when they involve high conflict. This type of divorce is characterized by intense emotions and anger, frequent arguments, name-calling, and/or nonstop disagreement between the parties. Common causes of high-conflict divorces can include infidelity, financial hardships, physical or emotional abuse, substance abuse, or personality traits. To manage the stress of this situation, try things like talking to friends and family, journaling, or taking up a hobby. Working with a family law lawyer with experience in high-conflict divorces can also help you seek a smoother resolution and offer peace of mind moving forward.

At Claery & Hammond, LLP, we help the people of Los Angeles through complex legal matters. Schedule a consultation by contacting us at (310) 817-6904.

Defining a High-Conflict Divorce

A high-conflict divorce is characterized by intense disagreements between the divorcing parties that can drastically disrupt and alter the lives of both spouses and their children.

This type of divorce comes with some added stressors: one or both spouses might engage in particularly harmful behaviors, such as trying to derail proceedings or making disparaging remarks about the other.

Even more challenging is that one or both parties might attempt to destroy or hide assets to prevent the other from getting anything. As you can imagine, these scenarios can introduce even more complexity into an already difficult process.

Common Causes of High-Conflict Divorces

Divorce can be a stressful experience, no matter the reasons, but when conflict between the two spouses is high, it can be a trying process for everyone involved. Conflict that rises to an especially high level can have several underlying causes that might have been present in the relationship since its beginnings or have developed over time.

Common contributing factors of high-conflict divorces include the following:

  • Infidelity: infidelity can dramatically increase the chances of having a difficult divorce for obvious reasons.
  • Financial hardships: Struggles with money can turn an already emotional proceeding into something more tenuous.
  • Physical or emotional abuse: If harm was committed against one partner during the relationship, the strains of the divorce could stir up the past, causing greater conflicts.
  • Substance abuse: Using alcohol and/or drugs can heighten conflict and tension and decrease communication and empathy between the parties.
  • Personality traits: Conflict can arise from personality traits like rigid thinking or blaming others; It can also stem from unmanaged emotions slipping through, further complicating matters.

Managing Stress and Emotions

Going through a high-conflict divorce can be an incredibly stressful experience. To maintain your physical and mental health, prioritize taking care of yourself. Eating right, exercising, and talking to someone you trust can be helpful.

Activities like meditating, journaling, and pursuing creative hobbies can help manage your stress. Getting support from close friends or family members who understand what you are going through may also be a good idea. Additionally, having a session or two with a professional may make a big difference in how you feel about divorce proceedings.

By making certain that you take time for self-care during this difficult process, you can come out much healthier — emotionally and physically.

Taking Steps to Avoid a High-Conflict Divorce

Divorce is never easy, but avoiding or reducing increased conflicts can help make the process smoother.

To start, try to remain open and stay engaged in conversations with your partner. Listen to what they have to say and try to understand their perspective, even if you disagree.

Being prepared with documents to support your proposed solutions can lend some credibility and show that you are serious about wanting to work through this together. Additionally, an effective way of diffusing a conflict is by asking for your spouse’s proposals when they become critical of yours.

Finally, to reduce tensions further, refrain from making negative statements about your partner in front of others —including the children – as emotions may flare up.

Although you might take steps to try to avoid a high-conflict divorce, sometimes these situations are inevitable.

Working with a Lawyer During a High-Conflict Divorce

Going through a high-conflict divorce can be overwhelming, frustrating, and can cause increased stress. Working with an experienced lawyer who understands the challenges of these situations is important for navigating the process.

Your attorney can help plan a strategy and set reasonable expectations to pursue fair agreements. They also have the experience to identify if particular demands are unreasonable or your spouse may be trying to take advantage of you.

Ultimately, your lawyer ensures that your best interests are put first and can provide an objective outlook to aid in sound decision-making.

To discuss your Los Angeles Case with a Claery & Hammond, LLP team member, please contact us at (310) 817-6904.