Although every person reacts differently to divorce, it can be more difficult to get over the impact it has on your life when conflict is escalated at the end of a marriage and you are left with a “high-conflict” divorce. “High-conflict” consists of the parties (one or both) refusing to cooperate with one another during the divorce process. It often involves unreasonable positions as well as toxic behaviors meant to antagonize the other party.
A high-conflict spouse will participate in several toxic behaviors, including:
- Threats of financial ruin
- Threats of physical or emotional abuse
- Parental alienation
- Hiding assets
- Spreading lies about the other party
A high-conflict divorce is more likely to last longer as the non-cooperative party refuses to compromise through divorce proceedings, or even tries to stop the divorce process altogether. Through a high-conflict divorce, every aspect of your life is affected. From your mental health and physical health to your relationships. The toxicity a high-conflict spouse imposes makes it nearly impossible to resolve and settle your divorce matter.
How to Survive a Contentious and High-Conflict Divorce
Accept the Situation
Dealing with a high-conflict spouse isn’t easy. Maybe you’ve tried to find a solution to fix your relationship, but in the end most of the time it doesn’t work. You can’t help an irrational person think rationally. Almost always, they do not change, and it will only lead to disappointment.
Accepting that your marriage isn’t working is hard, but it can better for you in the long run, if you have repeatedly tried to make it work to no avail. Once you acknowledge your emotions and fully allow yourself to experience them, you give yourself the chance to grieve and move on. The pain, anger, fear, guilt, loss, and other emotions you may be feeling right now are only temporary.
Although things didn’t work out how you anticipated, it doesn’t mean it was all for nothing. This experience is a valuable lesson that will make you stronger in the end. Not only does it help you grow as a person, but you have the experience to help others that may be going through something similar.
Don’t Engage in Conflict
A toxic spouse thrives off conflict. Engaging the conflict doesn’t solve anything and can actually result in extending the time it takes to negotiate and resolve issues in the divorce process. Arguing with your spouse isn’t going to make them change their mind, even if you speak to them logically; they won’t listen to what you have to say and may only get angrier. Remember, you can only control your emotions and actions.
Because high-conflict spouses are manipulative, they won’t hesitate to use dirty tricks in a divorce. For example, they might record conversations or screenshot texts and then gaslight you into saying things that would reflect poorly on you in court. Don’t give them the opportunity to do so. If your spouse is acting inappropriately and is harassing you, ignore their calls and texts and communicate with them through your attorney.
Seek Experienced Legal Counsel
When dealing with a toxic spouse and what is sure to be a toxic high-conflict divorce, it is essential to find a skilled New Jersey family law attorney. Because high-conflict spouses may react to divorce in violent, unexpected, or manipulative ways, an attorney will be able to help mitigate the damage of their behavior, as well as guide you through an emotionally turbulent time.
Your attorney will be able to analyze your case and help you determine what course of action will be in the best interests of you and your family. This includes defining specific agreements regarding your child custody and visitation plan, division of assets, and financial issues like child support or alimony. You will want someone there to make sure your settlement is fair and so that your soon to be ex does not manipulate certain situations in their favor.
If you are considering divorcing a high-conflict spouse or are in the middle of a high-conflict divorce, the attorneys at Rozin | Golinder Law are here for you. We understand how exhausting and overwhelming this time can be, but we will do everything we can to provide you with sound guidance and support to protect your family.
Call Rozin | Golinder Law today at (732) 810-0034 to speak to our compassionate divorce lawyers.