Divorce often leads to high conflict custody issues, especially if your former spouse has a high conflict personality. When tempers flare and emotions get the best of you, it is easy to let the high conflict personality control your decision-making just to avoid any further conflict. The best piece of advice I can give you is to have a strategic plan and learn how to control your emotions even though your ex-spouse knows exactly which buttons to push to cause you to lose control.
You must have a good strategic plan to help you win your high conflict custody case. High conflict personalities are known for “gaslighting” their spouses or anyone that gets in the way of what they want. These personality types are great at picking fights and making others feel like he or she is dumb, uninformed, wasting time and money, and anything else to make the other person feel bad about themselves. Their goal is to cause their spouse or anyone that gets in their way, to emotionally drain them and control their emotions.
It is always ideal to settle out of court if it can be done. Unfortunately, settling with a high conflict personality can prove to be difficult. This personality type rarely does the right thing easily. However, they don’t like to lose, so working with your attorney on a strategic plan is crucial to find exactly what it is that the high conflict personality is afraid of losing. Sometimes it's money, the house, a business. Whatever it is, use it as leverage.
A part of the strategic plan should be a backup plan in case the settlement offer is rejected. Often with these difficult personality types, the initial offer is refused just because they don’t want to easily give in to the first offer; therefore, it is important for you to have something else to present. The last thing you want to do is make a reactive decision. Instead, you want to make proactive decisions to avoid the high conflict personality gaining control of your decision-making in these very important life choices.
It can be beneficial to seek advice from a professional therapist to help you control your emotions to get the legal results you desire. Your mental health is important for the custody battle and long after it is settled. Many of my clients have been victimized by the high conflict personality for many years. Getting the appropriate counseling will help you turn off the noise created by your former spouse and focus on the task at hand -- the custody of the child. You will learn tools and skills to deal with his or her baseless threats to take the children away from you or leave you penniless and/or many other threats creating further emotional control over you.
Finally, hire an experienced knowledgeable family law attorney. All attorneys are not the same, you need someone that knows how to deal with high conflict and difficult custody issues. Hickey and Hull Law Partners are highly experienced in dealing with high conflict personalities. We have the knowledge and experience to help you build your case in a high conflict custody battle as well as guidance on how you should personally handle the situation. We also have extensive experience handling pending and post-judgment high conflict custody battles. Call or email today to schedule a consultation. The River Valley office number is 479.434.2414 and the Northwest Arkansas number is 479.802.6560.
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