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Signs Of High-Conflict Divorce

Annoyed unhappy married couple arguing in lawyers office get divorced, angry family spouses split up having disagreement disputing about breaking up and divorce settlement, legal separation concept

Even when the parties agree on everything, including the need for divorce, divorces can take time, money, and emotional energy. When one spouse is especially combative, the process can become that much more challenging, time-consuming, and expensive. A high-conflict divorce means that the heightened emotions and refusal to compromise will carry through the case, likely requiring court intervention to resolve one or more issues. If you have reason to anticipate a high-conflict divorce, you can start preparing early for the long haul and prepare for ways to mitigate the conflict and protect your interests. Read on for a discussion of several signs that you could be facing a high-conflict divorce, and what you can do to make things easier for yourself. Call an experienced New Jersey divorce lawyer for help protecting your rights, your interests, and your family in the event of a high-conflict divorce.

Your Spouse Lies

Lying during the marriage is likely to lead to lying during the divorce. Your spouse might lie on their papers, they might lie about their assets, or they might lie about the facts and circumstances related to your divorce proceeding. They might try to conceal their assets prior to divorce, they may make false accusations regarding your behavior to the mediator or the court, and they may lie about your children and their health, education, or wellbeing. Unfortunately, deceit leads to more deceit.

If your spouse has a history of lying or gaslighting, talk to your attorney to ensure you and your case are prepared for potential deceit throughout the matter. You and your attorney will know to be especially careful when looking for assets or reviewing documents and statements provided by your ex.

Refusal to Compromise

New Jersey courts typically send parties to mediation after filing for divorce in an effort to resolve outstanding issues. Ideally, the parties can come to agreement on the various components of divorce–child custody, financial support, distribution of property. If one or both parties refuse to compromise, however, a high-conflict divorce may be in store.

Do your best to protect the things that matter most, but compromise where you can to facilitate the process. If your ex refuses to give even an inch on any matter, mediation and settlement talks are likely to fail, and you may find yourself proceeding through a full divorce trial.

Aggressive Communications

Conflict occurs both inside and outside the courtroom. If every conversation with your ex turns into a shouting match, or if they consistently leave you angry emails, texts, or voicemails, you could be in for a high-conflict divorce.

Responding defensively or returning fire will only intensify the issue and carry the fight forward. As challenging as it may be, do your best to separate yourself emotionally from the conflict and stick to cold, hard facts and circumstances. If you need them to provide certain information, drop off the children, or file certain documents, explain your needs professionally and cordially. Do not take the bait and get pulled into their fight. Set firm boundaries and stick to them. As much as possible, relay communications through third parties, especially your lawyer. The less you take the bait and the more you remain in control, the more empowered you will feel.

Violation of Court Orders

When the court orders the parties to do something, they are required by law to do so. That includes turning over property, sticking to a child custody arrangement, providing financial support, and other matters. If your ex violates their duties ordered by the court by, for example, refusing to give up child custody on your days, failing to pay spousal support or child support, or refusing to hand over property distributed to you in the divorce, you have the right to protect yourself.

If they start violating orders right off the bat, they are likely to continue to do so. Tell your lawyer about the violations and ask them what steps to take. Your attorney may need to bring the matter to the court’s attention to enforce the order and ensure your ex’s compliance. If they refuse to comply despite the court’s insistence, they could face sanctions including fines, court rulings in your favor, loss of custody rights, and even jail time.

Call a Zealous New Jersey High Conflict Divorce Attorney for Advice and Representation

If you’re considering divorce or you need assistance with New Jersey family law issues involving parental rights, child custody, equitable division of property, alimony/spousal support, child support, or other family law matters in New Jersey, contact the experienced and skilled Union family law attorney John B. D’Alessandro for a consultation.

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