Divorce is difficult. However, a high-conflict divorcecan be even more strenuous. According to Dr. Kathy J. Marshack, a licensed psychologist and family/business coach, a high conflict divorce is any marital dissolution in which a separating couple cannot resolve differences in a rational or businesslike manner. Instead, a couple creates a costly and time-consuming war in or out of court.
A high-conflict divorce, according to Dr. Marshack, is likely when one member of a couple is extremely narcissistic or controlling. This type of behavior, unsurprisingly, can be a contributing factor to the divorce in the first place, but it only exacerbates the situation during marital dissolution.
Additionally, a high-conflict divorce can have long-lasting effects on both members of a divorcing couple and can also impact the lives of people close to them. In instances such as this, family members and mutual friends may be alienated from either or both parties, and any children a couple has may therefore be negatively effected.
Protecting Yourself in a High-Conflict Divorce
There are several steps, however, that you can take to protect yourself if you are involved in a high-conflict divorce.
- Limit the amount of contact you have with your soon-to-be ex. The less that he or she can whisper in your ear to make you question your decision, or lead you to believe negative thoughts about yourself, the better;
- Develop a new routine, a “new normal,” with your children—if you have them—that does not include your spouse;
- Write down your feelings—even if they are never shared—just to allow yourself the catharsis of letting it out;
- Learn to 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; and
- Be assertive. Whatever you fail to bring up in a negotiation could be lost forever; first impressions, especially when dealing with court professionals, matter.
Finally, in any divorce situation, it is essential to have an experienced and aggressive attorney on your side.
If you or someone you know is headed for a high-conflict divorce, the most important step is to seek legal counsel. Do not go through it alone. Contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorneytoday.