Lisa Hall, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

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High Conflict Divorce/High Conflict Post-Divorce

You may be wondering:

“Why can’t I just have a ‘normal’ divorce like everyone else?”

“My kids are being effected by this.”

“How do I get out of this high-conflict situation?  Is this ever going to end?  Will I ever be free?”

“This divorce is going to ruin me financially and emotionally.”

“Why is my spouse being so aggressive?  Making things so difficult?  Why would they hire this aggressive attorney?”

“My kids are in danger.”

“Is there something more here that I don’t get because I thought we’d be past this at this point in our divorce.”

“My kids are in the middle of this conflict and I don’t know what to do.”

“I fear that my relationship with my kids is being impacted by this stress and conflict.”

“My kids don’t want to go to their mom’s/dad’s house and I don’t know how to make them.”

“My ex is out to ruin my relationship with my kids.  My kids are going to be taken away from me.”

“My ex is trying to get back at me by using the children to hurt me.”


There are divorces and then there are high-conflict divorces.  Yes, most divorces have some measure of conflict during the process.  But high conflict divorces have a few components that are not usual in typical divorce cases:  Litigation, custody evaluations, numerous professionals involved, restraining orders, using the kids to relay info and to negotiate, and oftentimes undiagnosed/untreated mental health issues and/or substance abuse issues in one or both of the parties.

If you think you may be dealing with a high – conflict divorce, get informed so that you are prepared and have an understanding of what is happening and how to best handle it for your sake and for the sake of the children.  High-conflict marriages, or divorces, are extremely damaging to children – and also to you.

If you think that you are the “calm one” or that it is your ex that is causing the problems, you may or may not be right. You may be contributing to the stress in your kids and divorced family more than you know or than you can see.  If it is your ex that is having more difficulty with getting along and appropriate expectations or behavior, there are things that you can do to improve things as much as possible on your end.  There are shifts we can work with, within yourself, to deal with all this more effectively, and, most important, to be there for your children more effectively.

Children can have real symptoms and difficulties with this stress, from what is referred to as “regressive behavior,”  to acting out, depression, drug and alcohol use, intimate partner violence in their own relationships, and psychological confusion.  And it can impact them for years to come in many different ways.  When kids are consumed with family stress or find themselves in the middle of parental conflict, it causes them to develop ways of coping that may lead to long term relationship problems, with you, in the future with others, and within themselves.  Sometimes it takes over and causes them to miss out on just being a kid, instead being overwhelmed and distracted by what is happening at home.  This is not healthy for the developing brain.

If you want to help your children as much as possible, and you are dealing with a high-conflict person or a high-conflict divorce, you might consider coming in for a consultation.  There are strategies and approaches that are not appropriate for these types of conflicted divorces and can exacerbate things, and there are others that really can help minimize stress and help with improved family functioning…at least in your household.

Lisa Hall, L.M.F.T., M.A.

Marriage & Family Therapist, Relationship Issues, Divorce & Family Conflict.

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