5 Facts About High Conflict Divorce

17 Mar

You hear the stories all the time–the ones about high-conflict divorce and the toll it can take on the children, the divorcing individuals, and even the friends and families involved. High-conflict divorce is never good for anyone, and yet, thousands of divorcing couples somehow find themselves in this kind of conflictual relationship.

I thought I would learn more about this, errr, interesting dynamic and found a great article in the Huffington Post outlining 5 facts about high-conflict divorce. Here’s what I learned:


  1. High Conflict Divorce is expensive:“According to an Associated Press article, the costs of divorce varies depending the process you use. Mediation is the least expensive option, at a typical cost of $6,600. Collaborative law costs average $19,723 while full-scale divorce litigation average, $77,746.”
  2. High Conflict Divorce is more susceptible to violence: Family courts can pit couples against each other – especially in high conflict divorce cases.
  3. High Conflict Divorce is best handled like Hostage Negotiations: Essentially, both need to be able to stay calm while setting an appropriate pace for negotiations. A hostage negotiator and divorce mediator need to treat people with respect (yes, this is from the hostage negotiator) and use active listening skills. Finally, the hostage negotiator, like the divorce mediator, should never give up!
  4. High Conflict Divorce is better served through Mediation: Mediators help couples navigate the divorce process and reach agreements that are less expensive, more lasting and customized.
  5. High Conflict Divorce is a choice: As ½ of a divorce, you get to decide if you are going to engage in a high conflict divorce or not.

I especially like the last one. We ALL have a choice as to how we will handle conflict. And, conflict can’t happen unless at least two people are involved. So, although it can be hard to resist the temptation, we may be better served by refusing to escalate things. Instead, spend your time looking for solutions.


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