A high conflict divorce is one where at least one of the parties in the case is difficult to deal with or at least one of the attorneys seems to enjoy stirring up the pot. Whichever it is, it can substantially increase the cost of the divorce.
How a High Conflict Divorce Increases the Cost
The main way a high conflict divorce increases the cost is by increasing the number of court appearances involved. Resolving issues without court intervention is more economical in that the parties do not incur the many hours of preparation time that come with each court appearance.
For every court appearance that is required, the attorney must prepare the exhibits, prepare the witnesses, prepare for any questions the court may ask and be prepared to rebut the claims of the opposing party. This runs up the cost of the divorce.
Sometimes, one party will run to the courthouse asking for an emergency order with very little notice to the other side. These types of actions by the other side require several hours to respond to and to prepare for either a hearing or if no hearing will be held, in drafting and submitting a written response. It is far more cost efficient if the two attorneys can talk, either in person or on the phone, and resolve the issue with what is called a “Rule 11” Agreement.
If the parties are going through traditional litigation, it is still advisable that they consult a counselor or therapist to help them through this difficult time. If the conflict is over child custody, a custody evaluator, parenting facilitator, or psychological expert may help the parents resolve their issues with less animosity.
How a Collaborative Divorce Can Decrease the Cost of the Conflict
Sometimes, conflict occurs because of mental illness of one or more of the parties. This creates feelings of imbalance of power, so that person thinks they need to strike first to make sure their point is heard. When the case involves children, it is wise to remember that you and the other parent will need to deal with one another for many years into the future; therefore, increasing the level of conflict only harms that “co-parent” relationship.
In collaborative divorce, in addition to the usual members of the collaborative team, a mental health professional is called in to help the spouse who is creating the conflict deal with their emotional issues that would otherwise derail the process. This allows that spouse to be heard but also to learn more effective ways to handle their emotions.
For More Information About Divorce, Contact an Experienced Dallas Family Law Attorney.