All divorces, no matter how amicable both parties are, have some measure of conflict during the process.
High-conflict divorces, can be extremely acrimonious in nature and damaging to both you and your children, involving some of the following;
- custody evaluations,
- interim care & control applications,
- personal protection orders,
- using the children as pawns to attain information and to negotiate
The main areas of contention in a high conflict divorce are:
Whose fault is it?
Spousal and child maintenance
Very often, one spouse will attempt to resist providing any sort of maintenance to the other.
Related Aaticle: Determining Child & Spousal Maintenance
Division of matrimonial assets
Either party may attempt to hide assets to avoid them being included in the matrimonial pool. This may result in further antagonistic behaviour during the divorce process.
Related Article: Factors influencing division of matrimonial assets
It will not be surprising to see all sorts of allegations being levelled against each party to paint the other in a bad light, so as to gain custody of the child/children.
Related Article: Understanding Child Custody: Sole Custody & Joint Custody
If you are in a high conflict divorce in Singapore, here are some steps to consider:
Being calm and level headed is the best thing that you can do in a toxic, high conflict situation. It can help preserve your conscience and emotions, as well as that of your children. Keep your emotions in check and don’t let anger get the better of you. An angry outburst is only going to worsen the situation.
Get a good and experienced divorce lawyer
If you find yourself involved in a high conflict divorce, you must hire a divorce lawyer experienced in high conflict divorces. An experienced divorce lawyer is more likely to attain the desired results without increasing the drama and tension. The lawyer will also consider and potentially defend the allegations that your spouse makes against you, especially if they are false allegations. They can help you put together an effective strategy and help you make the right decisions.
Parties may act or make demands unreasonaby in a high conflict divorce. As such, you must assess your situation and keep yourself from creating needless conflicts in an already tense situation. Avoid making decisions when you are angry. You may be rejecting a perfectly reasonable proposal from your spouse only because you are acting on your emotions. Parties may feel a plethora of emotions and feel like getting back at their spouses, but that will only worsen the situation and complicate the divorce proceedings.
Be open to seek emotional help
Any divorce, not just a high conflict one, can be emotionally draining. Hence, keep an open mind about seeking emotional support, counseling, or therapy when going through a tough divorce situation. Family and friends can be a great support, but if you require expert advice and support, a trained family counsellor, divorce coach or divorce support group may help. Check with your divorce lawyer for recommendations.
Protect your children
No matter how messy your divorce gets, do you best to keep your children away from it. Children of high conflict divorce can go through an emotionally traumatic time if you involve them in a toxic situation. Even if you are extremely angry with your spouse, try and keep the situation as normal as you can for your children. Try and stick to your visitation schedule and inform your spouse about upcoming school events and extra curriculum activities. Your children should not, as far as possible, be involved in any unnecessary drama.
How to Explain Divorce to your Child
Appointing a Child Representative Lawyer in High-Conflict Cases
Effect of Divorce on Children – An Age-by-Age Guide
3 Ways to Diffuse High-Conflict Co-Parenting