Standing Your Ground in a High-Conflict Divorce
p>High-conflict divorces take everything troublesome about divorce and render it exponentially more stressful. Divorcing a high-conflict person can be both difficult and infuriating. In many cases, the best approach for dealing with a high-conflict spouse is to simply not engage; avoid the conflict entirely and let them fight with themselves. As we’ve said before, “When they go low, you go high.” Under certain circumstances, however, that’s simply not enough. There are times when you can and should stand your ground. Below, our seasoned New Jersey divorce attorney discusses when and how you should stand your ground in a high-conflict divorce.
Cut Off Communication
It’s not your responsibility to talk to your ex whenever they want to vent. If your ex is not communicating with you with respect, remind yourself that talking to you is your right and it’s within your purview to take away that right. If you have no shared children, you can and should let all communication be handled by and between the attorneys. Even transferring small personal items can be handled by other people.
If you do have shared children and you need to coordinate, you can keep that communication to a minimum: bare facts, cordial words. Texts or emails, no phone calls. Limit in-person contact as much as possible.
Rely on Your Attorney
If you anticipate a high-conflict divorce, it’s important to get the right representation on your side. While you should strive to be as amiable as possible and negotiate/mediate/agree to a settlement where you can, that does not mean you have to agree to everything your ex wants. You have rights and needs with regard to marital property, child custody, financial support, and other areas.
Hire a lawyer who will protect your interests and defend your rights against a high-conflict party. Tell your attorney about the things that matter to you most, so they can be your advocate. Let your attorney fight your battles for you so that you can focus on your life, your family, and your future.
Stick to the Court’s Orders
If the court has issued an order pertaining to custody, financial support, or property division, follow the letter of the order as much as possible. You can allow for minor deviations where appropriate–a change in the parenting schedule to accommodate an actual medical issue or a rare special event, for example–but do not play games with your ex. Do not let them pull you into a battle of holding the children for extra time or withholding financial support, and do not let them get away with regularly taking extra time away from you. Stick to the court order, and if they continually try to rationalize deviating, continually say “We should stick to the court order.” If they keep violating the order, talk to your attorney and consider pursuing sanctions.
Fight for Your Rights: Property, Support, Custody
You might feel that it’s worth it to let your ex “win” a social interaction by walking away. It is not worth it, however, to let them win the legal battle simply because they are louder. The law guarantees you certain rights and privileges, including distribution of marital property, child custody, parenting time, and spousal or child support where appropriate. If your ex has a temper or a mental illness, for example, then you should have primary custody to protect your kids. Do not give in simply to avoid conflict. Let your attorney fight for what you deserve.
Get Accomplished Legal Help With Your New Jersey Divorce
If you need effective legal help with child custody, divorce, child support, alimony, or other family law matters in New Jersey, contact the Union offices of family law attorney John B. D’Alessandro at 908-964-0102.