How do you diagnose a high-conflict divorce?
Stillwater family law attorney, Matt Ludt, shares how he approaches challenging divorce cases.
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Diagnosis of high-conflict divorce is usually easier than defining it. When parties consistently cannot get along, have problems co-parenting, you’re pretty quick to recognize that there’s some high conflict here, but definition-wise it means that the party’s relationship has lost all trust. There’s not even respect. Their ability to co-parent is out the window. Just the regard they have for each other is warped.
And, as a result, we end up seeing that the children end up calling the shots and playing the parents off each other, sometimes telling each parent what the parent wants to hear so then that actually fuels the divorce, because they both go back and say, “So and so says this, and you’re not doing it right.” And yet maybe that’s not the truth. Maybe the child’s just trying to please the parent, but we end up – what we end up seeing is normally we’ve got a family tree with the parents on the top, the children on the bottom. In high-conflict divorces, it gets flipped upside down and the children start calling the shots, because the parents have no authority to parent them, because that authority comes from parenting together.