What Can I Do to Deal With a High-Conflict Spouse? 

Anderson, Creager and Wittstruck, P.C., L.L.O. 
Couple sitting on couch, arguing at home

Divorce is never easy, but it can be especially challenging when dealing with a high-conflict spouse.  

One of the most pressing concerns in these cases is the emotional toll it can take on you and your family. Perhaps your partner's combative nature is the root of the reason you're filing for divorce. Even if you've grown accustomed to their behavior, it's still natural to feel overwhelmed by the constant disputes and aggressive communication. As a team of experienced family law attorneys, we understand your frustration and the complex emotions that arise during these cases.  

Divorcing a high-conflict spouse requires careful planning and setting clear boundaries to protect yourself. Our approach is designed not just for legal success but to help protect your well-being during this trying time. We hope this guide will help you feel more at ease about the journey ahead. If you need to run anything by an attorney, know that Anderson, Creager and Wittstruck, P.C., L.L.O. is here to help. 

It's essential to approach divorce planning with a solid understanding to manage expectations and mitigate stress throughout the legal process. Here are some steps we recommend: 

Develop a Strategic Plan 

A well-thought-out strategic plan is vital when entering a divorce with a high-conflict spouse. Developing a strategic plan can include: 

  • Gathering Important Documents: Collect all the necessary financial documents, including bank statements, tax returns, property deeds, and investment information. This ensures you have all the relevant information for asset division. 

  • Setting Realistic Goals: Clearly define what you want to achieve in the divorce, such as child custody arrangements, spousal support, or division of assets. Realistic goals will guide your decisions throughout the process. 

  • Choosing the Right Attorney: An attorney experienced in high-conflict divorce cases can navigate the complexities of your case effectively. They will advocate for your interests and help de-escalate potentially volatile situations. 

Engage in Calm and Structured Communication 

Effective communication is crucial and should be: 

  • Documented: Keep a detailed record of all interactions with your high-conflict spouse. This can be important if you need to present evidence of their behavior in court. 

  • Direct but Non-Confrontational: Communicate in a straightforward manner, avoiding unnecessary confrontation. This can help reduce the intensity of the interactions. 

  • Professional in Tone: Maintain a professional demeanor in all communications, whether written or spoken, to prevent further conflicts. 

Prioritize Your Emotional and Physical Well-Being 

Self-care is essential during these times. To prioritize your well-being, you should:

  • Seek Support: Engage with a therapist or support group to help you cope with the emotional stress of a high-conflict divorce. 

  • Maintain Physical Health: Regular exercise and proper nutrition can help manage stress levels and keep you grounded. 

  • Establish Boundaries: Know when to disengage from conflict with your spouse to protect your emotional well-being. 

Utilize Mediation and Conflict Resolution Skills 

Using third-party assistance, such as the following, can be beneficial: 

  • Mediation Services: Using a mediator to help resolve disputes outside of court can save time, money, and emotional energy. 

  • Conflict De-escalation Techniques: Learn and apply conflict resolution strategies to avoid escalation. Your attorney and therapist can assist you in developing these skills. 

Anticipate and Prepare for Challenges 

Be ready for the realities of a high-conflict divorce. To prepare for potential challenges, you should:

  • Expect Delays and Obstacles: High-conflict individuals may employ tactics to prolong the divorce and create additional obstacles. 

  • Stay Informed: Keep yourself educated about your legal rights and the divorce process, so you can make well-informed decisions. 

  • Be Flexible in Your Approach: Flexibility allows you to adapt to changing circumstances and find alternative solutions when necessary. 

By taking these detailed steps in preparing and managing your divorce proceedings, you place yourself in a stronger position to handle the challenges that come with a high-conflict spouse, ultimately working towards a resolution that serves your best interests. 

Why Experienced, Versatile Representation Is Key

If you find yourself faced with a situation where high-conflict tendencies have escalated to abusive acts, legal protection such as restraining orders may be necessary. Our team is prepared to take swift action to ensure your safety.  

Beyond divorce and family law, our firm offers support for criminal law matters. We can help you protect your safety, your rights, and your future. Contact us to learn more. If you ever find yourself in an emergency, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 or you can text START to 88788. 

Reach Out Now for Legal Help

Divorcing a high-conflict spouse can be emotionally and legally complex. By following this guide and seeking professional help, you can navigate the divorce process with more confidence and a sense of security. Never navigate this process without a trusted legal representative. Anderson, Creager and Wittstruck, P.C., L.L.O. can guide you through this challenging time and provide the support and respect you deserve. Whether you're in Lincoln, Omaha, Grand Island, or any other location in Nebraska, we're here to help you.