How To Determine If Your Parenting Situation Is High Conflict

Are you unsure if your parenting relationship with your ex-spouse is a high conflict case?  Here are some identifying characteristics of high conflict cases:

  • When mediation has not been successful or has been determined by the judge to be inappropriate
  • When anger and distrust result in difficulty communicating about the children and there is extreme distortion in the reporting of past events by each parent
  • When children are denied emotional and / or physical access to a parent or severely limited parental contact
  • Allegations that child(ren) are refusing to see other parent
  • Constant disputes about un-measureable or un-provable items
  • When there are restrictions to children of access to extended family members
  • When there is interference or refusal of access to information about child(ren)’s health, education and welfare
  • When a parent withholds support payments
  • When there is a high rate or re-litigation, especially concerning non-legal issues
  • When there has been frequent change in lawyers
  • When there are physical threats and assaults made by either or both parents
  • When there is constant use of police and restraining orders with no or minimal cause and false allegations about abuse, alcohol or drug use, or criminal activity

How Children Define Parental Conflict*

It may be interesting to understand that children define parental conflict as:

  • Parent refusing to speak with the other when children are picked up or dropped off
  • Parent refusing to open the door to the other parent
  • Parents arguing violently in their presence
  • Parents insisting that they carry verbal or written communications between homes about late support payments or missed visits
  • Parents physically assaulting each other in their presence

*The Early Identification and Streaming of Cases of High Conflict Separation and Divorce: A ReviewLast Updated 04/30/2013

(Credit:  Debra K. Carter, National Cooperative Parenting Center)