Resolving Virginia High-Conflict Divorce and Custody Cases
By: John Whitbeck
You have divorces that are contentious and filled with emotion, and then you have high-conflict divorces that become more complex and harder to resolve. If you are currently involved in a high-conflict Virginia divorce and/or custody battle, you need a Virginia child custody attorney who has experience handling these types of cases.
High conflict can refer to the fighting during the process itself, but some people can be categorized as high-conflict, making the process even more challenging. Signs of a high-conflict divorce can include one party making demands that are impossible to meet, refusing to agree to any terms in a mediation, dragging out the divorce, changing legal counsel multiple times when he or she does not agree with their opinion, repeatedly petitioning the courts, etc. These cases can be challenging to deal with, which is why it’s essential to have a highly skilled Virginia divorce attorney by your side.
Dealing with High-Conflict People
If your soon-to-be-ex is a high-conflict person, you may have to learn how to better communicate with them in order to reduce the tension, especially if you have children. High-conflict people become defensive, as they believe they are constantly under attack, being controlled, or put down. This means a simple conversation about an upcoming school assignment can turn into a massive blow-up.
A family law attorney won’t be there to help you through all the arguments after the divorce. However, he or she can help reduce the tension during the process, using negotiation methods so that the high-conflict person is more open to resolving the remaining issues in your divorce.
High-conflict behavior that continues after the divorce can certainly have negative effects on your children. Children are resilient yet highly perceptive. If one parent is bad-mouthing the other in front of the children, it can be damaging. As is, children are already going through a massive transition as well. They are now adjusting to living in two homes, or maybe they are moving to a new location because of the divorce. This means making new friends, starting in a new school, etc. All of this can take a toll on your children, which is why it’s best to try and resolve your divorce as swiftly and amicably as possible.
High-Conflict Custody Battles
High-conflict divorce and custody battles can also refer to some serious underlying issues that make the case more difficult. These often require litigation to resolve due to toxic home environments, physical or sexual abuse, one parent being a drug addict or alcoholic, domestic abuse, or any other indication there may be serious problems.
While you want to resolve the custody issues quickly, the court will always decide what is in the child’s best interest. Any allegations of the issues mentioned above may result in the judge awarding legal and physical custody to only one parent. The other may or may not have visitation rights, and it may be supervised if awarded.
To learn more about child custody, visit our Child Custody page.
John C. Whitbeck, Jr. is the founder of WhitbeckBennett. His practice focuses on family law, special education law, and mental health law. He regularly practices in several jurisdictions in the Northern Virginia area. He has also been certified as an expert witness in litigation.