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Legally Reviewed by: Ryan Kelly
Partner, Divorce Lawyer

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High Conflict Divorce Lawyers

One of the most stressful events in an individual’s life is divorce. While no one enters a marriage anticipating a divorce, it’s an unfortunate reality for over half the marriages in this country. There are many different factors that contribute to this sobering and unfortunate statistic, which often include commitment issues, infidelity, domestic violence, substance abuse, financial problems and more.

Divorce is an emotional experience and the legal process and proceedings surrounding it are not immune from this. This is especially true when couples have been married for a long period of time and have built a life together. It should be expected that individuals will experience the natural human psychological responses of anger, sadness, grief and depression.

However, these normal emotional reactions do not make the typical divorce a high conflict divorce. This type of divorce is when both parties carry these natural emotions to the extreme, which can endanger a spouse and any children they may have. These types of divorces are commonly referred to as an “ugly divorce”, and often involve lengthy and complex legal battles to resolve.

Because of the stakes involved in a high conflict divorce, it is strongly recommended to consult with a family law attorney specializing in high conflict divorces. The expert attorneys at Kelly & Kelly have decades of experience helping individuals navigate this difficult time in their life and protect their assets and children. If you are in need of legal assistance for a high conflict divorce, please contact our office today to schedule a consultation.

The top of a form used for Michigan divorces that's titled record of divorce or annulment

What Divorces Are Considered High Conflict?

As mentioned earlier, high conflict divorce is categorized as divorce that involves high levels of emotion and potential danger to those involved. These divorces are grouped into several different categories depending on the circumstances involved. The most common types high conflict divorces are contested divorces, substance abuse, physical abuse, mental illness and custody disputes.

The first type of high conflict divorce is a contested divorce, which is when one party does not agree to dissolve the marriage. There are many examples of this type of divorce but the most common one involves infidelity. More often than not, one party has met someone new and wants out of the marriage to be with a new partner.

A second type of a high conflict divorce revolves around substance abuse. These situations are potentially dangerous to the sober spouse and any children. There often are concerns about the partner struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction operating a motor vehicle while under the influence, especially if they are transporting their children. Also, addictions can sometimes make them unstable, unpredictable and potentially dangerous around the other spouse or their children. Any time a couple is divorcing based on substance abuse issues these concerns must be considered.

Physical abuse is the most serious cause for a high conflict divorce, requiring police notification, Personal Protection Orders (PPOs) and proper documentation. Physically abusive relationships are especially dangerous and sometimes the abused partner feels trapped within the relationship, either by threat of violence or by emotional manipulation. Especially when children are involved, it is vital to seek competent legal counsel and evacuate the situation as soon as possible.

Mental illness is an unfortunate affliction that may arise in a marriage and potentially cause a divorce. In certain circumstances if the mental illness is serious enough it can turn a normal divorce into a high conflict divorce. Sometimes, couples are married for years before one party realizes the extent of their partner’s illness. If the mentally ill person refuses medication and counseling, divorce may be the only solution. This particular area is quite complex and requires guidance from experienced attorneys and medical professionals.

One of the most difficult high conflict divorce issues involves custody disputes. Sadly, children may be used in a divorce as part of a negotiating tool. This is unfortunate because it hurts the children. Another issue regards the safety of children during divorce proceedings and after the final ruling. This is a high conflict concern when a parent’s mental health issues or drug and alcohol problems may hurt innocent children.

What You Should Do

A high conflict divorce requires an extreme level of detail and care unlike any other proceeding in Michigan courts. The attributes that make a high conflict divorce vary from family to family, but frequently include narcissistic personalities, substance abuse, domestic violence, extreme fault, fraud, criminal activity, special needs children, dissipation and concealment of assets and infidelity. The number one priority in all divorces, and especially those that are high conflict, is the safety of yourself and your children.

Working with an experienced family law attorney specializing in high conflict divorces is vital to ensure the safety and security of all parties involved. This is also critical for situations involving large amounts of assets or wealth that need to be protected from the other spouse. Our divorce attorneys have decades of experience working with individuals who find themselves in a high conflict divorce situation, and have the skills and expertise to represent you through this battle. If you are in need of legal counsel and representation in a high conflict divorce, please reach out to us today to schedule a consultation.

Our Team of High Conflict Divorce Lawyers

We possess the knowledge, experience, resources and dedication to pursue and achieve desired outcomes for our clients. Read more about our talented team of high conflict divorce lawyers below.

This page was legally reviewed by Ryan Kelly. Ryan has been a practicing family law and divorce lawyer for over a decade. Throughout this time she’s represented clients through various complex issues involving the family court system. This includes divorces, child custody, contested divorces, alimony, and more. She previously served as President for both the WLAM and the Women’s Bar Association and is recognized among the top 10 lawyers under 40 by the National Academy of Family Law Attorneys. She also contributes regularly to the Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) as a speaker on issues involving family law and child support.