High Conflict Divorce

Knoxville High-Conflict Divorce Lawyers

Divorce got your blood boiling? We can help.

In an ideal world, every divorce would be easy, everyone would agree on all the terms, and you’d both walk away feeling good about everything.

Let’s be real, though. That rarely happens. Some divorces are uneventful, some are difficult, and some are just really, really, really bad. If your divorce is high-conflict, contentious, combative, or whatever “C” word you want to use, you’re gonna need a lot of help and support.

Specifically, you need someone on your side who understands what you’re dealing with and can cut through the noise and drama and get things done. Because what really matters at the end of the day is your well-being and the well-being of your kids – making sure they’re safe, making sure they’re taken care of, and making sure you all have a great future ahead.

At LaFevor & Slaughter in Knoxville, our divorce attorneys know what it takes to build a proactive strategy designed to eliminate as much conflict as possible while making sure your needs and goals are met. We want to make your divorce as stress-free as possible, and we’ll work as hard as we can to do so. But if your soon-to-be-ex is particularly contentious, you can rest assured we have the skills, resources and experience to negotiate aggressively and effectively for your rights. Whatever challenges your divorce may bring, we have probably seen it before and we’re ready to meet them head on.

What do you mean by “high-conflict”? Nasty…with a capital N

When we talk about a contentious or high-conflict divorce, we’re not talking about someone just being difficult, or reacting poorly to a bad situation. Certain personality types can turn a difficult divorce into a full-out war if things get out of control, and issues you thought were already settled can turn into chaos. Ever seen the movie War of the Roses? That’s what we are talking about.

Take a peek at the points below. If any of these things feel familiar, chances are you’re dealing with a high-conflict person and a high-conflict divorce.

  • Dishonesty. Someone with a high-conflict personality (let’s call them HCPs) tends to make the facts fit the feelings, instead of the other way around. It helps them make their emotions make sense – to them – but you may end up dealing with fabrications, false accusations, and outright lies.
  • Victim blaming. You can do all the right things and even endure abuse, but still feel like you’re being blamed for everything. An HCP typically refuses to see their own faults and instead projects them onto other people – often a spouse or ex-spouse, or sometimes their own kids.
  • Manipulation. An HCP has a need to feel superior or, on the flip side, an innocent and guileless victim. Either one allows them to feel powerful. You might find out that they’ve contacted your friends, family, or even your co-workers to tell their wildly inaccurate “side of the story.” HCPs have a need for attention, negative or positive.
  • Unreasonable. Your spouse might be acting increasingly difficult with even the smallest negotiation. They may be unwilling to compromise on the tiniest thing, insisting on “their way or the highway,” stymying any chance to move forward with your separation or divorce.
  • Zero empathy. If your spouse is putting their own needs above the well-being of the kids, alienating them against you, trying to punish you or retaliate against you for perceived wrongs, or threatening to “take it all,” you’re dealing with a destructive person.

Our Knoxville divorce attorneys are experienced in contentious divorce cases. We know how to approach your case with care, and our goal is to defuse and eliminate conflict as much as possible, and help you all move on to a new chapter.

Why LaFevor & Slaughter reduces conflict, not enables it

As divorce attorneys, we firmly believe our job is to help our clients make the best and most informed decisions for their future, and then work to help them achieve those goals. We fight for what you and your family need and deserve. We’re going to represent you with respect, determination, and strategy. When your divorce looks like it’s going to be difficult or, frankly, a war, we’re going to mitigate the damage and reduce the conflict.

Nobody wants a long, drawn-out, ugly and public divorce battle – there’s no winner, only losers. You can’t put together a fair divorce settlement agreement if you can’t agree, and you can’t agree when one or both of you are making decisions with your emotions. Our attorneys use our years of experience to help you move past the rubble and chaos of your marriage, learn to process negative feelings in a more appropriate way, and get to the real issues without distractions or hostility.

It’s also not uncommon for high-conflict personalities to seek out legal representation with a similar outlook as themselves. Rest assured that’s not how we operate, and our legal team always insists on conflict resolution as priority one.

Have you ever heard that old joke that the only people who make out in a divorce action are the attorneys?  It can be true.  We know you don’t want to engage in a knock down, dragged out circus where both sides are spending your kids’ college fund on legal fees just so someone can feel like a “winner.”  It doesn’t make sense.  We understand and appreciate that you want to get this divorce over as fast and inexpensively as possible while still making sure you receive a fair settlement or outcome.

My ex and I cannot even be in the same room together. Can you help us get divorced?

We can. The name of the game here is “conflict resolution,” and whether you’re dealing with personal relationships or the divorce process, it can work if you trust us to guide you through the process. It might seem impossible when you’re dealing with a personality disorder, but with good planning, patience, and a respected Knoxville law firm on your side, you can come out alive and thriving.

Not every attorney or law firm knows how to deal with a high-conflict type person. At LaFevor & Slaughter, we work with licensed mental health professionals and counselors who understand personality disorders. We make sure you are absolutely and thoroughly prepared from the very beginning for every situation or issue that might come up during the separation and divorce process. We know you don’t want any surprises (and we don’t either!).

Wedding Rings

The effects of high conflict on the kids (it’s not good)

You know how stressful conflict can be in a marriage. That’s why you’re getting divorced. However, you can never, ever underestimate the damage the effects a high-conflict divorce can have on the kids. Repercussions of a bad divorce can affect everything from child custody to child support and, if allowed to escalate to the worst-case scenario, domestic protective orders.

Psychology Today reports that kids aren’t necessarily worse off living in a single-parent family, so take all that “you should stay together for the children” advice with a big fat grain of salt. What the data does show, though, is that kids can definitely suffer damage from high conflict within the family, especially between parents.

One thing you should always remember is that your children are learning how they are supposed to treat their future spouse and how they are supposed to let their future spouse treat them by watching how you treat your soon to be ex and how you allow your soon to be ex to treat you.  Are these the lessons you want them to learn?

Getting into more detail, Psychiatric Times talks about the challenges faced by children of high-conflict divorce, which include serious issues like:

  • Parental estrangement or alienation
  • Adjustment disorders
  • Loyalty conflicts
  • Chronic internalized stress

Child custody decisions are based on one priority – your child’s well-being. Period. If a high-conflict divorce or high-conflict parent is affecting a child’s emotional or physical welfare, a judge will have no problem making a custody decision or modification if the child’s circumstances call for it.

Call our Knoxville attorneys for help with a contentious divorce

Whether your spouse is fighting over your claim to alimony, is trying to claim you make more money than you do so they can collect more child support, wants a larger and disproportionate share of the assets, or simply refuses to agree to a divorce under the same grounds as you listed – when you are involved in a high-conflict divorce, you want an attorney who can handle every challenge. When you feel like your back is against the wall, we will make a door or open a window.  Give us a call.  To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys, call us at (865) 637-6258 or fill out our contact form today.