High-Conflict DivorcesWritten by: Rob Print This Article
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A friend once said “marriage is grand, divorce is one hundred grand”. In a high-conflict divorce, he might have been underestimating. High-conflict divorces generally involve extended litigation, potentially crossing over from the family law arena into civil and criminal cases involving parties besides the unhappy couple. Expenses mount quickly, $100,000+ in legal fees can be expended even by warring couples with relatively modest income and assets. Financial ruin and even bankruptcy is not unusual.
Often the end of most of the litigation is brought by not a real resolution to the conflict, but by running out of money. Sadly, as more money becomes available in the future, the conflict may become renewed again. Or one of both litigants may change to less expensive litigation methods such as self-representation without legal counsel to keep the war going.
Such cases often involve dirty tactics which cause extensive damage not only to the target adults, but also to any children involved and even to the extended family. Children may be robbed of a chance to spend time with a parent and his or her extended family and inflicted with serious psychological harm.
While this is hardly an exhaustive list, these cases commonly feature problematic behaviors including:
False accusations of domestic violence in the forms of child abuse and partner violence
Falsely obtained restraining orders (also known as protective orders) to gain de facto custody of children and to severely financially damage a former spouse (often the man, but increasingly this happens to women, too)
Parental alienation (training kids to hate a parent)
Refusal to follow court orders (contempt of court)
Frequently the cases are driven by one or both parties exhibiting aggressive and unreasonable behaviors brought on by mental illness. Personality disorders are a particularly extreme source of unending conflict. Even a mentally stable person when attacked during a high-conflict divorce for years or more can start to exhibit behaviors associated with mental illnesses, particularly depression and anxiety disorders.
We encourage you to look through our website to increase your understanding of what drives high-conflict divorces and resources to help you. We routinely write posts involving topics involving high-conflict divorces, so check back occasionally for updates or subscribe to our site via email or RSS (see the upper right hand corner of our web page).
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