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How do you know if it is a high-conflict divorce?

On Behalf of | Feb 6, 2023 | Divorce |

It is only natural for a divorce to involve some level of conflict. After all, it is an emotionally charged situation that can change your life, to say the least. Even spouses who agree to divorce in the first place may deal with conflict.

However, how do you know if the conflict you face is enough that it might define the end of your marriage as a high-conflict divorce? There are a few questions to consider to determine if your divorce could involve high conflict.

Does your partner have high-conflict tendencies?

The first question to consider would be if your spouse shows signs of a high-conflict personality. Psychology Today explains some of the most common signs, such as:

  • Constantly blaming others, not taking accountability
  • Black-and-white thinking, unwillingness to compromise
  • Extreme, unmanaged emotions

You may have been dealing with this personality for years, so it may seem normal to you. On the other hand, this behavior may be part of your decision to finally divorce. Regardless, it is important to be aware that these characteristics of a high-conflict personality could increase the risk of a high-conflict divorce.

What about their approach to divorce?

As the term suggests, a high-conflict divorce is when one or both spouses engage in behavior that incites and escalates conflict throughout the divorce. This behavior is often designed to specifically hurt the other person.

In addition to your spouse’s personality, it is important to take a look at their approach to divorce to determine if the above definition fits the situation. For example:

  • Is your spouse refusing to cooperate, even regarding the simplest things?
  • Are they hostile and argumentative in person or over text and email?
  • Are they badmouthing you in front of the children, or attempting to alienate you?
  • Are their actions preventing any progress or sabotaging the divorce process?

These actions frequently indicate a high-conflict divorce, even if your spouse does not necessarily have a high-conflict personality. In these situations, it is critical to understand your options and have a strategy in place for how you will move forward. While it may not be possible to avoid conflict regarding someone’s personality, there are ways you can find peace and feel confident navigating the divorce.