High Conflict Personalities in Family Law Cases

More and more, personalities of the parties is a major factor in dragging out court proceedings, reaching a reasonable settlement, and/or increasing attorney fee cost.

High conflict personalities are often characterized by the following:

  • Preoccupation with blaming others
  • Inability to accept responsibility for one’s own actions
  • Uncontrollable negative emotions
  • Personal based attacks
  • Triggering conflicts with professionals, teachers, principals, counselors, paralegals, or court house staff
  • Law enforcement involvement to diffuse situations

High conflict family law cases need to be addressed strategically.  These steps will help:

  • Minimize contact: High conflict relationships are maintained after the separation through social media posts, poor mouthing the other parent or their family, intrusive telephone calls. Therefore, the best way to reduce stress, anger, and attorney fees is by minimizing contact.
  • Keep interactions professional: Avoid yelling, crying, or pleading with the other party. Be calm, cool, and professional. Remember, emotions show where you are vulnerable.  Most of all, anything you say or do may be used against you in court.
  • Plan for the worst: High conflict cases are often in and out of court numerous times for violations.  Due to this, your partner will use social media posts, conversations with your child, or interactions to hurt you in court.
  • Do not publish personal information.  Unfortunately, you are under a microscope during litigation.  If you must use social media, limit your posts, comments, and page shares drastically.
  • Document, Document, Document: Save all messages, emails, recordings, posts by the other party that show name calling, or violations of the court order.
  • Don’t go on the Defensive: Keep responses factual, professional, and without emotion.
  • Therapy: A therapist is the best source of support during litigation or the loss of a relationship. Most of all, you will learn coping skills, how to process high conflict situations, and stress reducers.
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