Divorces often start from a place of conflict or stress, but some divorces are more contentious than others.
A number of circumstances factor into a high-conflict divorce, and each one can be stressful for both you and your family. From high-conflict personalities to divisive child custody agreements, each family will have different needs to address to build the foundation for a better future.
Emotions can run high throughout the divorce process. It’s important to establish boundaries to help manage your unique circumstances. Effective boundaries can foster both practical routines and grounded conversations.
When it comes to setting boundaries that work for you, the most important thing is to ask for what you want and follow through with an actionable system to enforce them. Consider the following steps:
It’s normal to feel anxious or angry during a contentious divorce, but boundaries set conflict-reducing expectations between you and your former partner.
Going through a high-conflict divorce is emotionally taxing.
Self-care is a vital part of ensuring that you preserve your well-being, but it’s enormously valuable to seek professional support to help you through this time in your life. A therapist or counselor can provide meaningful insight and strategies to help you cope and, ultimately, start planning for your future. If you have children, it may be helpful to seek out help from a child therapist to make sure they have the tools they need to thrive.
Co-parenting is when both parents assume joint responsibility for their children’s health, welfare, and education. While co-parenting is a great option, it can be a difficult adjustment even in a relatively amicable divorce.
In a high-conflict divorce, parallel parenting may be a solution for your child’s welfare. Parallel parenting is an arrangement in which parents limit direct contact with each other, which may be necessary if they cannot respectfully communicate with each other.
While parallel parenting is an option, it should be weighed carefully. If you’re considering parallel parenting as a strategy for coping with a high-conflict divorce, it’s crucial that any decision is made in collaboration with your legal team and any medical or mental health providers for your child to keep their best interest at the center of the matter.
The goal of parallel parenting is to minimize conflict through the most civil and stable arrangement possible. This would mean that while parents may share joint decision-making on schooling or their child’s extracurricular activities, day-to-day care and logistics decisions would be made independently for both parties, and communication is limited to specific circumstances.
Every divorce is different, and even in a high-conflict divorce, there are both pros and cons to either mediation or litigation.
With litigation, most if not all of the steps of the divorce process go through the court. This makes the process more inherently contentious, and it can be time-consuming, stressful, and costly. However, litigation does provide a few advantages:
On the other hand, mediation is often less confrontational and adversarial than litigation. Mediation tends to be faster and less expensive, and provides its own advantages:
As you navigate divorce, keep in mind that you can always move from mediation to litigation and vice versa. The New Jersey court system builds multiple options for mediation and settlement-oriented discussion into the litigation process, so choosing to litigate doesn’t mean you’ve given up on reaching agreements with the other side.
Going through a contentious divorce can be stressful, but you shouldn’t need to navigate the process alone. That’s why it’s so important to work with a legal team that understands your needs. You’ll want to work with a legal team that will help minimize your stress not increase it. This is why you’ll want to try to find a legal team that will focus on strategy and goal-oriented legal advice that is tailored to your unique circumstances and needs in order to find the right path forward for all parties involved.
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