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The 3 Greatest Sources of Conflict in Divorce

To put it plainly, the three greatest sources of conflict that I see over and over again in divorce are kids, money, and antagonistic feelings.

Yes, these are very general categories, but they are what I would attribute to the biggest areas of conflict in the divorce process. Unfortunately, many of the cases I see have one, two or all three of these things.

Let’s take a closer look and consider why these areas cause the most strife.

Source of Conflict #1: Kids

There are a lot of disagreements dealing with kids. It’s a difficult issue because, for many parents, it’s hard to compromise on many kid-related decisions (where they’ll go to school, which house they’ll live in, which parent is best suited to care for them, etc.)

Source of Conflict #2: Money

Money is always a sore spot in divorce, and it can be particularly challenging to untangle issues of pre-marital property and whether it’s been co-mingled. I often see a situation where one party worked harder than the other and feels the other person isn’t entitled to as much.

Arguments over who wants what are also common. Most often, both parties want the house (this is true especially in cases where kids are involved, because precedent suggests that the kids would be better off if they live in the house in which they grew up. So, whoever has the house, theoretically would get more time with the kid).

Source of Conflict #3: Hating Each Other’s Guts

By the time people file for divorce, there can be so much animosity that they aren’t thinking clearly. All they know is they hate the other person and want them to suffer.

This is a possible explanation for why more and more cases are beginning with criminal charges. It might look like this: people aren’t getting along, one party calls the police, someone gets charged with domestic violence (DV), and it’s the straw that broke the camel’s back. Now they’re getting a divorce either because the person who believes he or she has been wrongfully arrested wants out or the person who believes he or she has been physically or emotionally abused wants out.

DV gets tricky, in part because when it’s in play there will also be a protection order in place that generally prohibits the parties from living together. It’s an automatic separation. I often think there can be manipulation going on in these situations: by filing DV charges, the accuser wins automatically when the accused is forced to move out of the house—even if the house is in the accused’s name.

And this leads to further implications when it comes to children because when DV is part of the situation, the Court cannot order joint-decision making without the parties’ agreement. The stakes become very high. It can get very messy. I have seen cases where the parent didn’t think the conduct was a big deal, but he/she contacted the police at the direction of his/her attorney, who wanted to get an advantage in the divorce.

Things to Remember…

In closing, there are a couple things to keep in mind when you’re going through a divorce:

  1. Somebody can be a terrible spouse but still be a good parent. Make sure you differentiate feelings about the type of parent someone is vs. what type of spouse that person is.

  2. Attempting to get revenge through a divorce proceeding is generally counter-productive and can end up costing a lot more money than it would otherwise.

If you’re preparing to go through a divorce, it is advisable to talk to an attorney right away, especially is there is domestic violence involved in your case. I’ve seen people get so emotional about their divorce that they begin to make decisions that don’t support their best interest; when you speak with an attorney early on, that person can help you make choices that support your interests.

If you’re getting ready to go through a divorce, let’s talk. Call us at 303-449-1873 to set up a free consultation.