You’ve Never Met Anyone Like My Spouse?
Not all disagreements create a “high conflict divorce.” In nearly every divorce or dissolution, there is some point when the parties have a disagreement about something. One spouse might object to the valuation of a home improvement project while in another case, two parents may disagree about whether their daughter should participate in “school cheer” or “private cheer.” However frustrating these disagreements may be at the moment, these disputes often work themselves out once the parties establish open lines of communication and have some time to reflect on the disagreement.
If you run a Google search for “high conflict personalities” you will find a list of character traits which describe a person with a high conflict personality as a person who has:
Repeatedly inappropriate behavior
A penchant for turning minor problems into major disputes
A need to always have someone to blame
Whether you are litigating a divorce or attempting to negotiate a dissolution with a spouse who has a high conflict personality you will have to develop strategies for communicating effectively with your spouse in such a way that does not give them the opportunity to raise the level of conflict.
When you know that you are dealing with a person who is prone to instigate conflict, your first instinct might be to avoid contact with that person altogether; however, you may not be able to do so if you are negotiating a dissolution or co-parenting minor children. Here are some tips that you can both agree to use to set the ground rules for communication:
Limit your interactions to written communication, with the exception of any kind of emergency that involves the child.
No use of degrading language, name calling, criticism or profanity under any circumstances
No placing blame
Deal only with present situations
Once the parenting time schedule has been agreed upon, avoid making any changes to it
Make parenting time exchanges in a neutral, public place to diminish the opportunity for creating a dramatic scene
Realize that you will have to set personal boundaries when it comes to dealing with a high conflict person. In parenting situations, rather than investing your energy in trying to win the battle with your former spouse, try to focus your attention on making sure you are meeting your child’s needs. It takes two to have a conflict and if one party chooses to disengage the other party will have no one with whom to do battle.
Do not try to deal with a high conflict divorce on your own or with an attorney who is not experienced in litigating contentious divorce cases. Christopher M. Alexander makes it a goal to find constructive ways to lower the level of conflict for our clients during divorce and other family law disputes. When you need a skilled and experienced family law lawyer to fight for your goals, call Christopher M. Alexander at (513) 228 – 1100, mobile (513) 226 – 8489, or online at Chris@awklegal.com.