High-conflict divorces can be emotionally charged and legally complex, especially when there are complicating factors such as affairs or abuse. If you are facing a high-conflict divorce in Texas, a high-conflict divorce attorney at The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy can help you navigate the unique challenges of this situation.

High-conflict divorces are often characterized by anger, a lack of trust, a desire to hurt the opposing party, and/or a desire for revenge. It is important to stay calm and avoid engaging negatively with your spouse, as this could impact the outcome of your divorce.

High-conflict personalities can contribute to the complexities of a divorce. Knowing how to identify and manage these personalities can help you create an effective strategy for moving forward. 

A skilled high-conflict divorce lawyer can help you recognize these personality traits and show you how to deal with them in the most effective way. Here are some tips for handling a high-conflict divorce:

  • Stay calm and collected. This can be difficult, but it is important to remember that your spouse is trying to get a reaction out of you. Do not let them succeed.
  • Avoid engaging with your spouse negatively. This means not arguing, yelling, or insulting them. It also means not gossiping about them or trying to turn your friends and family against them.
  • Set boundaries. Let your spouse know what behaviors you are and are not willing to tolerate. If they cross a boundary, disengage from the conversation or leave the room.
  • Document everything. This includes keeping a record of all communication with your spouse, as well as any evidence of their abusive or high-conflict behavior.
  • Seek professional help. A high-conflict divorce lawyer can help you protect your rights and interests and can represent you in court if necessary.

Remember, you are not alone. There are lawyers who care about you and want to help. If you are facing a high-conflict divorce, please reach out to The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy for help.

Common Kinds of High Conflict Situations

Texas is a “no-fault” divorce state, parties may file for divorce based on fault grounds such as adultery, cruelty, abandonment, fraud, or abuse. However, regardless of the grounds for divorce, your history and experience will frame how issues such as child custody, division of marital property, and spousal support are viewed in court.

In most cases, it is possible to mediate a divorce settlement, even in contested cases. However, our firm understands that there are some cases where litigation is necessary to protect your rights and interests. Our attorneys can help you develop a strategy that is best for your circumstances, which may include:

  • If your spouse is hiding or misrepresenting marital assets, including a business they own.
  • If you believe your spouse is committing fraud.
  • If your spouse’s or former spouse’s ability to parent is affected by mental illness or addiction.

We understand that conflict at the end of a marriage can be agonizing, but we are here to help you map out a plan for a secure future. Here are some tips for navigating a high-conflict divorce:

  • Be prepared. Gather all of your financial documents and other relevant information before you meet with your lawyer.
  • Be honest with your lawyer. Your lawyer needs to know all of the facts about your case in order to represent you effectively.
  • Be willing to compromise. It is unlikely that you will get everything you want in your divorce. However, with the help of a skilled lawyer, you can negotiate a settlement that is fair and reasonable.
  • Do not be afraid to go to trial. If you cannot reach an agreement with your spouse, you may need to go to trial. While this is not ideal, it is sometimes the only way to protect your rights and interests.

Remember, you are not alone. There are many resources available to help you through this difficult time. Statutory grounds for divorce in Texas, such as adultery and cruelty, can be considered by the court when making decisions about property division, spousal support, and child custody.

An experienced divorce lawyer can help you with a variety of issues in your contested divorce, including:

  • Contested child custody: If you and your spouse cannot agree on child custody, the court will decide who gets custody and visitation. An experienced lawyer can help you present your case to the court and advocate for your best interests.
  • Complex property division: Dividing marital assets and debts can be complex, especially if you have a high-net-worth estate or own a business. An experienced lawyer can help you negotiate a fair settlement or represent you in court if necessary.
  • Alimony and spousal maintenance: Alimony (also known as spousal support) is financial payments that one spouse makes to the other spouse after the divorce is finalized. An experienced lawyer can help you determine whether you are eligible for alimony or how much alimony you should pay or receive.
  • Child support enforcement: If your ex-spouse is not paying child support, an experienced lawyer can help you enforce the child support order.
  • Prenuptial agreements: A prenuptial agreement is a contract that couples sign before they get married. It sets forth how their assets and debts will be divided if they get divorced. An experienced lawyer can help you draft a prenuptial agreement or review an existing prenuptial agreement.
  • Hidden assets: If you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets, an experienced lawyer can help you investigate and uncover those assets.

If you are facing a contested divorce in Texas, it is important to have an experienced lawyer on your side. A good lawyer can help you protect your rights and interests and negotiate a fair settlement.

Common Signs of High Conflict Divorces

Even if a divorce is amicable, it can become high-conflict if one or both spouses have a high-conflict personality. High-conflict personalities are characterized by traits such as:

  • Blaming others
  • Inability to accept responsibility
  • Lack of introspection
  • Manipulative or controlling behavior
  • Threats
  • All-or-nothing mindset
  • Emotional outbursts

High-conflict personalities may turn every key issue in the divorce into a major legal battle, which can prolong the divorce process. A high-conflict personality is someone who has difficulty regulating their emotions and behavior, and who may engage in destructive or manipulative behaviors in order to get their way. 

There are many different types of high-conflict personalities, but some of the most common include:

  • Narcissistic Personality: Narcissists have an inflated sense of self-importance and a deep need for admiration. They often lack empathy for others and may exploit them in order to achieve their own goals.
  • Borderline Personality: People with borderline personality disorder have difficulty managing their emotions and relationships. They may experience intense mood swings, impulsiveness, and self-destructive behaviors.
  • Histrionic Personality: People with histrionic personality disorder have an excessive need for attention and approval. They may engage in dramatic or inappropriate behaviors in order to get attention.
  • Paranoid Personality: People with paranoid personality disorder have a deep distrust of others and believe that they are being persecuted. They may be suspicious of others’ motives and may overreact to perceived threats.
  • Antisocial Personality: People with antisocial personality disorder lack a conscience and empathy for others. They may engage in criminal or manipulative behaviors in order to get what they want.

If you are dealing with a high-conflict personality in a divorce, it is important to set boundaries and protect yourself from their manipulative and abusive behaviors. It is also important to have an experienced divorce lawyer on your side who can help you navigate the process and protect your rights.

If you believe you may be facing a high-conflict divorce, it is important to have an experienced high-conflict divorce lawyer on your side. A good lawyer can help you negotiate a fair settlement and create a strategic path to meet your needs.

Possible Fault Grounds for Divorce in Texas

In Texas, a divorce can be filed on either no-fault grounds or fault-based grounds.

No-fault divorce: This is the most common type of divorce in Texas. It means that neither spouse is considered to be at fault for the divorce.

Fault-based divorce: This type of divorce can be filed if one spouse has committed a marital offense, such as:

  • Cruelty: This can include emotional or physical abuse.
  • Adultery: This is when one spouse has a sexual relationship with someone else outside of the marriage.
  • Abandonment: This is when one spouse leaves the other spouse and stays away for at least one year.
  • Conviction of a felony: This is when one spouse is convicted of a felony offense and sentenced to at least one year in prison.

If a court finds that a fault-based divorce is warranted, the spouse’s fault can be considered when the court makes decisions about property division and spousal maintenance. Additionally, while fraud on the marital estate is not a ground for divorce in itself, a spouse who has hidden or wasted community assets may be ordered to make amends.

Here are some additional things to keep in mind about fault-based divorce in Texas:

  • You do not have to file for divorce on fault-based grounds, even if you have a valid reason to do so.
  • If you do file for divorce on fault-based grounds, you will need to prove your case to the court.
  • Fault-based divorces can be more complicated and time-consuming than no-fault divorces.
  • Fault-based divorces can also be more expensive, as you may need to hire a lawyer to help you prove your case.

If you are considering filing for divorce in Texas, it is important to talk to a lawyer to discuss your options and to learn more about the differences between no-fault and fault-based divorce.

High Conflict Spouses

A divorce involving a high-conflict personality (HCP) can be more challenging than other divorces because HCPs are unable to compromise or see the middle ground. They are often very good at appearing caring and sincere, so it can take months or even years for a legal professional to identify them. However, HCPs can cause enormous emotional pain and financial costs to their spouse and children before their disorder is brought to light.

Bill Eddy, a legal specialist at the High Conflict Institute, has identified a number of common traits of HCPs:

  • Rigid and uncompromising, repeating failed strategies
  • Unable to heal or accept a loss
  • Dominated by negative emotions
  • Unwilling to reflect on their own behavior
  • Unable to empathize with others
  • Preoccupied with blaming others
  • Unwilling to accept any responsibility for problems or solutions

HCPs stay unproductively connected to people through conflict. They will continue to create conflict to maintain any sort of relationship, good or bad. Since HCPs undermine all relationships, they constantly repeat the same patterns and usually end up divorcing multiple times. It is estimated that 20-30 percent of all couples getting divorced have at least one HCP spouse.

The High Conflict Institute has identified four primary fears that drive HCPs:

  • Fear of being ignored
  • Fear of being belittled or publicly exposed
  • Fear of being abandoned
  • Fear of being dominated, including fear of losing control over their spouse, their money/assets, or themselves

What can the spouse of an HCP do to help bring the family conflict or divorce to completion?

  • Tell your attorney what your bottom line is and stick to your decision.
  • Maximize any leverage you have and stay on course.
  • Choose your battles carefully.
  • Put everything in writing.
  • Work on keeping total and consistent emotional detachment from the HCP.

Remember that the HCP feels that since you are no longer together and since you know too much about them, you must be discredited so that no one will think that they are the problem.

You will need to learn some practical skills in communication and response to your HCP, as well as when and how to let your attorney deal with this situation and how to enforce your guidelines. Hopefully, your thoughtful and reserved conduct will result in the best possible outcome.

High Conflict Divorce Attorney in Tarrant County, TX

If you are in the midst of what is beginning to feel like a high-conflict divorce, do not waste your time trying to work out all of your issues with a difficult spouse. The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy will be able to step in and help you find solutions to all of your problems so you can go about your life in Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, Southlake, and other cities in Tarrant County, TX.

You are invited to call (817) 422-5350 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation so we can fully examine your case in great detail and better understand all of the issues you are facing. You should also know that our firm is familiar with various kinds of family law issues that are common in divorce cases.

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