You may have known that divorce would be inevitable for a long time, but now that you are finally here, it can be difficult to know how to proceed. While divorce is never easy, for people who are married to high-conflict spouses who seem to thrive on confrontation, anger, and blame, the divorce process can be an absolute nightmare. And while most divorces are moving away from litigation in favor of mediation or collaborative divorce, for high-conflict relationships, alternative dispute resolution methods may simply not be an option.
If you are facing divorce with a high-conflict spouse, it is essential to retain an attorney with experience in high-conflict and complex divorces. The strategies that you will need for your case will likely look different than those used by other people you know who have gotten divorced. Read on to learn how you can protect yourself during a high-conflict divorce, and then schedule a consultation with a skilled Illinois high-conflict divorce attorney.
Take Steps to Keep Yourself Safe
Physical and emotional abuse are not always part of a high-conflict relationship dynamic, but when they are, the victim of the abuse faces heightened risks when trying to end the relationship. Knowing this, you should take steps before announcing your intention to get a divorce by finding a safe place for you and your children to stay. If necessary, get an Order of Protection so your spouse is forbidden to contact or come near you and your kids.
Avoid the Blame Game
Many high-conflict people play manipulative games to keep their partners engaged in conversation. Although it may be counterintuitive to healthy adults, for some people, bad attention is better than no attention at all. Resist your spouse’s efforts to draw you into fights when he or she blames you for the problems in your relationship. Do not try to justify yourself, no matter what they say. Avoid unnecessary contact whenever possible.
Find a Great Therapist or Friend
You are going to have a lot of strong feelings as you move through this divorce and after it is over. Because you do not want your feelings to affect your children negatively, find a great therapist or friend who is willing to help you process the end of your relationship. Use this person as an outlet for your negative emotions; never post on social media, complain to your kids, or reach out to your spouse’s family members.
Keep Communication in Writing
When you do have to communicate, make sure it is documented by emails, text messages, or voicemails. By doing this, you will have evidence of anything your spouse says and you will also be able to dispute allegations that you said something you did not say. Even in writing, keep communication brief, polite, and informative.
Get Ready for Court
If your spouse cannot negotiate in good faith, or if he or she has a history of abuse, alternative dispute resolution methods will be off the table for you. Gather the information you need before filing for divorce, especially if you fear your spouse will try to destroy evidence such as pay stubs, bank statements, letters, photos, and other important documents. Document your household belongings by taking videos in case your spouse takes or destroys things. And work with a great attorney who is prepared to fight for you in court if necessary.
Schedule a Consultation with a Kane County Divorce Lawyer
Whether you want to try resolving your divorce through amicable means or need to litigate your divorce in court, MKFM Law is here to help you and protect your family throughout your high-conflict divorce. We have worked with many spouses in very challenging divorces and we are confident that we can help you, too. Call a St. Charles, IL divorce lawyer today at 630-665-7300 to schedule a comprehensive consultation and learn more about how we would manage your case.