Nearly one quarter of divorces are characterized as high-conflict. High-conflict divorces are those in which the couple continues fighting long after the judgment of divorce is signed. Most divorcing couples resolve their issues, or at least move on, within two or three years after the divorce is finalized. But in high-conflict cases people continue fighting and litigating, sometimes more than a decade after the divorce is over.
Why does this happen? Research has found that up to 60% of people in high-conflict divorces have personality disorders. People with personality disorders lack empathy. They are unable to comprehend that their actions hurt others and they often lie and manipulate to get what they want. They also divide people into two camps: all good or all bad. When you first met your spouse, he or she was probably very charming. You were on a pedestal because you were “all good.” Now that you are divorcing or divorced, however, you have moved into the “all bad” camp. You personality disordered ex-spouse will have no sympathy for you and will feel justified lying and manipulating the Judge to get what he or she wants.
It is almost impossible to expose your ex-spouse. Having lived with a personality disorder all his or her life, your ex-spouse knows how to be work the room. He has an “outside” personality ~ what he shows the world ~ and an “inside” personality which is the reality you lived with. In court your ability to reveal your ex-spouse’s true personality is limited by the rules of evidence and civil procedure, and by the Judge’s patience. “Winning” then, does not mean getting the judge to agree with you and validate that your ex-spouse is a bad person or bad parent. “Winning” means persuading the judge that you are the better parent. That requires you to strategize and carefully construct your presentation each time you appear in court.