High Conflict Divorce: Dealing with doubt

Do not be surprised if, at some point, you struggle with considerable doubt during a high conflict divorce or custody dispute. Doubts about your case, your attorney and yourself will inevitably surface during this type of divorce. Here are three tips for dealing with doubt during a high conflict divorce or custody dispute.

1. Remember that no one can guarantee the outcome of your case

Doubts about your case, including the possible outcomes or what the judge will rule will remain with you throughout your entire case. An attorney with experience in high conflict divorces will talk with you about all the possible outcomes and help you realistically determine what options you have based on your situation and his or her experience. Additionally, if your ex has a history of lying, hostility, or manipulation it is your responsibility to inform your attorney of this in the beginning of your case. While you might not be able to control how your ex behaves, you can talk with your lawyer about strategies for dealing with high conflict behavior.

2. Talk with your attorney

Let them know, in writing, that you would like to discuss your case and give specific examples of what you are concerned about. For example, if you think your lawyer left out important details in a motion or at a hearing, tell them. It’s possible it was not the appropriate time or place to address these details or they have a plan for introducing this information at a later time. Details are extremely important in high conflict cases and it is totally appropriate and ok to ask your attorney about his or her conduct, work ethic, or strategies. If your attorney dismisses your concerns or continues to leave out important details in your case, this is a “red flag” and you should get a second opinion. Please see previous blog post about Working with your Attorney for more “red flags.”

3. Determine if your doubts are based on facts or feelings

Doubts about yourself often surface during times of crisis. After talking with your attorney, if you continue to experience doubts, worry and anxiety it’s important to determine if your doubts are based on facts or feelings. Common doubts during high conflict divorce or custody dispute:

  • I wonder if I can handle this?
  • Should I just give in and avoid a fight?
  • Do I have the strength to survive this?

I strongly encourage you to look for the evidence (facts) to support theses doubts which are likely triggered by emotions (feelings) such as fear, shame and anger. These feelings increase exponentially when you are faced with going to court with a person who is difficult, controlling or abusive as they have mastered the art of causing you to doubt yourself, your feelings and your strength. A trained therapist can help you process your doubts about yourself, and identify and begin using strategies for managing doubt.


Still need help managing your doubt….call me at 864-386-3733 and get on my therapy schedule.

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