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High-Conflict Divorces

Generally, divorces and other Family Law issues progress in one of two ways . . . they are either amicable (simple and easily handled) or they become high conflict, which means litigious, acrimonious, difficult, painful and expensive.

It really seems there is very little middle ground.  BUT, this does not mean that taking the "low road" is the only way to go.

Please read our RESOLUTIONS OPTIONS section of this website to learn more about unique ways to resolve Family Law issues such as mediation, collaboration and arbitration.

In an amicable divorce, the husband and wife accept that the marriage is over and proceed in a respectful manner to divvy up their marital assets and liabilities.  If there are children involved, they are able to come to an agreement about what will be best for the kids and they move on with their respective lives with little acrimony between them.  The children have the advantage of growing up without listening to their parents complaint about "Your father did this" and "Your mother won't do that."

People who dissolve their marriages without bitterness are usually comfortable dealing with each other in the future as they continue to share a familial bond through their children because it's inevitable they will bump into each other at graduations, bar mitzvahs, baptisms, weddings, grandchildren's birthdays, etc.

On the other hand, there are some couples who cannot resolve their differences without anger, resentment, bitterness, hatred, etc.  Many times intimidation, threats and even genuine violence are involved inhigh conflict divorces as one or even both parties tries to control the outcome.

A "War of the Roses" can ensue between the parties which is going to be expensive and heart-breakingly destructive to their children.  Such couples will often spend more than their children's college educations will cost to battle over ever possible slight or perceived disadvantage.

The damage spreads like an epidemic through the entire extended family and even to their friends, their business associates, etc.  Oftentimes, people in high conflict divorces are never able to fully recover from the trauma.

If you find yourself in a high-conflict divorce, we strongly urge you to engage the services of a well-qualified therapist or counselor to help you sort out your emotions so you can stop letting them push you around.  Remember, lawyers generally make really bad therapists!  You need someone to talk to who has specific training in helping clients through the difficulties of such situations.

Current research shows divorce is not so bad for children, though obviously it creates difficulties for them.  But, after 18 months, the children can usually move on, probably better than the adults fare.

The odds of children surviving a divorce with permanent emotional and psychological damage are far greater when the parents have gone through an acrimonious, embittered and litigious divorce.  Further, it is not just little kids but teenagers as well who suffer in such cases.  See our Reading Room for a number of books which can be helpful to you and your children in dealing with divorce.

Retired family law judge and California Court of Appeals Justice Donald King is quoted as saying that "Family law court is where they shoot the survivors."  He was talking about high-conflict cases.

Remember:

You can no more win a war
than you can win an earthquake.

Quote attributed to Jeannette Rankin, U.S. politician (1880-1973).

But your case does not have to unfold this way.  Please investigate other options before declaring war in Family Court.

Litigation   |   Mediation   |   Arbitration   |   Collaboration