Identifying whether your case is “high conflict” can be surprisingly difficult. In most cases, there is some level of conflict in a divorce or parenting dispute. The question is whether a case has an abnormally high amount of conflict.
Some examples of high conflict cases involve domestic violence, serious substance abuse, mental illness of a party, or a party that lives out of town or is seeking to relocate. On the opposite end of the spectrum are cases that are relatively amicable. Those can be resolved with little time, energy, and expense.
Perhaps the best way to determine whether your case is high conflict or has the potential to become high conflict, is to look at how disputes are handled between you and the other party. If minor disputes easily turn into major battles, it is a clear sign that you and the other party do not get along, for whatever reason, and the matter will likely involve a significant amount of conflict.
Conversely, if the minor disputes are handled in a civilized manner, even if neither party is completely satisfied with the solution, your case does not involve an abnormal amount of conflict. More important than simply identifying whether a case is high conflict is recognizing who is harmed by high conflict cases. That means the children involved. Most Judges are not concerned with the level of conflict in a case if it does not involve children. If children are involved, the parties will likely have many years in which they are forced to deal with one another in co-parenting.
High conflict cases can have serious consequences. For example, in most cases, joint legal decision-making (custody) is awarded. A high conflict case has a higher likelihood of a sole legal decision-making (custody) order. In addition, high conflict cases can cost the parties significantly more money in trying to prove or resolve the high conflict issues.
The court can order high conflict parenting classes. The Judge can also order parental evaluations for substance abuse, domestic violence, and mental illness along with child interviews. In many high conflict cases, a Parenting Conference or even full custody evaluations can be ordered. All these things will extend the time it takes to resolve your case and cost additional fees.
If you have a high conflict case, please contact our experienced Attorneys at Shaffer Family Law at (480) 470-3030 to schedule your consultation.