Going through a divorce is always stressful, but the stakes and aggravation increase when spouses can’t resolve their differences rationally. When one partner or both is out of control, the result can be a high conflict divorce, which can escalate to a war between spouses. Before you realize it, you’re involved in a costly battle both in and out of court, and, in the end, often no one wins.
A high conflict divorce affects not only the divorcing couple, but the lives of people close to them, especially their children. If you find yourself involved in a high conflict divorce, you need to have the help of an experienced family law attorney. The family law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. understand that it’s necessary to provide steadfast, aggressive representation for clients in spouse-war situations.
MAJOR AREAS OF CONFLICT
Spouses undergoing high conflict divorce often clash, fight, and show hostility in almost every situation. They frequently take each other to court and may take out restraining or no-contact orders. They may accuse their partner of domestic violence and physical abuse or sexual abuse. They make every contact a painful one.
What do high conflict partners fight about? Almost everything, but the following are the most common areas:
- Money – After a divorce, money has to support two households, so divorcing partners often feel there is never enough and that they are not getting their fair share. Spouses may disagree and bicker instead of working out a settlement over how much child support and maintenance is reasonable and how it is spent. They may watch over what their ex is spending and pick a fight over it. Each may try to outspend the other, creating additional problems.
- Children – What time should children spend with each parent? Who should have the greater say in life issues such as education, religion, activities, medical care and friends? What are the differences in rules and parenting styles? Is one parent trying to prove he or she is the “better” parent and putting down the other? Children feel as if they are being pulled in two directions when parents are in a high conflict divorce.
- Possessions – Who gets the house and the car are big ones, but high conflict divorcing spouses may fight about and even hold up signing papers over every little item, and stubbornly refuse to give in despite the consequences in time, stress, and cost.
- New relationships – When a spouse begins dating, jealousy and issues such as having the “new person” involved with children and taking over parenting roles can create additional conflict. High conflict parents are sensitive about being displaced by someone else and may badmouth this individual to their children.
- Revenge – High conflict divorcing spouses often seek revenge and go to great lengths to get even, including instigating frequent court actions and involvement of third party investigators. Legal and court courts escalate.
HOW TO LESSEN CONFLICT AND PROTECT YOURSELF
While you can’t control your spouse’s behavior, there are steps you can take to help minimize conflict and to help keep yourself from getting sucked in to another drawn-out battle.
- Limit the amount of contact you have with your spouse. High conflict personalities love to create drama and will take every opportunity to escalate conflict. Minimize these opportunities.
- Learn to be assertive and stand up for yourself. A passive attitude will not help the situation, and can, in fact, lead to more aggressive behavior and resultant emotional fallout. Realize that apologizing does not work with a high-conflict personality.
- Take responsibility for your own life and the decisions that you make instead of blaming your spouse for everything. Learn to understand and manage your anger, and seek professional help if necessary. Don’t show anger even if you feel it.
- Set up boundaries in regard to children. Stick to discussing parenting business and nothing else. Think about what is best for your kids. Make up a parenting plan and put it in writing. Minimize any changes to the parenting schedule. Exchange children in a neutral, public place.
- Work on any unresolved issues that may be causing problems. If things aren’t working, look first to what you can do differently. Seek solutions instead of arguments. Stick to your financial agreements.
- Avoid hostile email, texts and other electronic communications. Stick to the facts and avoid getting sucked into conflict. How you respond to hostile communications may impact your relationships or the outcome of a case, as there is written evidence that could be used against you.
- Obtain proper legal assistance. High conflict divorce situations can be overwhelming, making it all the more necessary to obtain proper legal help. The experienced attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., always focus on our clients and aggressively work to resolve the particular issues they are facing without escalating the conflict. We understand the stresses you are under and will help you walk through this difficult time.
CONTACT THE LAWYERS AT WOLFE & STEC, LTD. FOR A FREE CONSULTATION
Begin the process of lessening your conflict and making your situation better by scheduling a free initial consultation with the experienced family law team at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. Please contact us at 866-936-6104 or 312-388-7882 to schedule time with one of our attorneys. We represent clients throughout DuPage County and Cook County in such communities as Bolingbrook, Naperville, Aurora, Wheaton and Downers Grove, Illinois. We’re here to help, so contact us today.