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You’ve definitely seen it in movies: the screaming and shouting, the name-calling, the vengeance, using children as pawns, and many other examples of dramatic and outrageous behavior. It’s the high-conflict divorce and, if you’re getting started on the divorce process, you’re probably wondering how you can prevent having a high-conflict divorce. They’re emotionally draining, and they tend to be longer and more expensive than amicable divorces. Reducing the conflict during the divorce process is one of the best ways to ensure that you have a faster, and less expensive divorce. If you’re wondering whether or not you need to prepare for a lot of conflict, here are a few signs that you may be more likely to have a high conflict divorce.

Significant Amounts of Assets or Debt

Having a lot of assets or a lot of debt doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you’ll have a high conflict divorce. However, the more assets and/or debt you have, the more there is to fight about. Though premarital assets are generally protected, you will still have to divide the marital assets and, if you have a lot of assets  or debt, this could be a large task—especially if you both want certain assets. Since most people experience a decrease in the quality of living during divorce, the assets you’re fighting over may not be easily replaced. And it’s likely that both parties recognize that. When it comes to divorce, there’s almost always going to be a compromise for both parties. If you’re concerned about having a lot of conflict over the high-value assets in your divorce, it may be a good idea to prioritize the things you want and be ready to compromise on the rest. 

Personality Disorders

People who have personality disorders generally have certain extreme and inflexible traits that negatively impact their worldview, relationships, performance at work, and self esteem. These traits are constant, meaning that they don’t appear and disappear depending on whether or not the person is under stress, or going through an emotionally distressing event. Though there are different personality disorders with different symptoms, cluster B personality disorders tend to result in higher conflict divorces. Some cluster B personality disorders impair an individual’s ability to recognize the impact of their actions. Those who are suffering from a personality disorder are not able to simply reason their way out of a personality disorder without professional treatment. If one or both parties have a personality disorder, there’s a higher likelihood that there will be a high conflict divorce. 


Cheating can also increase the level of conflict a divorce has. In Utah, the laws are not set up to provide the betrayed party with easy access to “justice” for this behavior. Because cheating can be such an emotionally painful experience, many betrayed parties attempt to take their emotions out on their ex as punishment for cheating. They may ignore court orders, destroy or hide assets, or waste time fighting over items of little value. If you’ve been cheated on, and you’re hurting from your spouse’s actions, it’s so important to seek professional help in order to help you fully heal from the emotional trauma that can come with being cheated on. Though it’s not technically cheating, if you’re dating someone before your divorce is finalized, it’s probably not a good idea to rub your new date in your spouse’s face when your divorce isn’t even finalized as it may increase the level of conflict in your divorce.

Out of Control Emotions

Divorce is a traumatic event for many people who have had to go through it. Because the emotions can be so intense and overwhelming, it’s not uncommon for people to act erratically or unpredictably during a divorce. And this is true even for people who don’t normally have a difficult time controlling their emotions. Unfortunately, this can lead to higher conflict divorces. Especially if you’re texting, calling, or contacting your ex through social media. Exchanging angry texts back and forth with your ex may inspire them to act unreasonably during the divorce and this can cause the divorce process to be longer and more expensive than necessary. This emotional trauma may also prevent someone from having a larger perspective or making rational  decisions. If you are having a difficult time controlling your emotions, you may need to seek help from a mental health professional who can help you find constructive ways to cope with the emotional trauma divorce causes. If your ex’s emotions are out of control, you may need to set firm boundaries around their visits and communications so they cannot cause you any additional stress during an already stressful time.

When You’re Filing for Divorce

If you’re facing a divorce, and you’re concerned about the level of conflict in your divorce, hiring an attorney can actually help you reduce the conflict in your divorce. An attorney can give you customized legal advice and help you strategize a plan for the most successful outcome possible. Also, an attorney can help you understand your rights and protect your assets. If you’re filing for divorce, contact CoilLaw today for a consultation.




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