Keeping with the theme of child custody cases, the Court will look to the conflict between the parties when deciding on a custody schedule. Questions may arise such as what is the level of conflict between the parties and is there a willingness and ability of the parties to cooperate with one another. The Court will also keep in mind that a party’s effort to protect a child from abuse by another party is not evidence of unwillingness or inability to cooperate with that party.
In a high conflict case, the Court is working to reach a resolution that allows the children to see both of their parents but keeps the children away from the ongoing litigation as much as possible. Some signs of a high conflict case are continued conflict with the parties even after litigation and court intervention, continuing litigation that has put a strain on the family, parental alienation or programming of the children, and non-compliance with prior court orders. Many of the high conflict cases have a party who is not able to move forward, that plays the blame game, and fails to keep the child’s needs at the forefront of the case.
The impact on children in these high conflict cases can be significant if the parents cannot reach a resolution and continue going through litigation. The security children once felt has now been removed and replaced with stress and conflict. Child may begin to experience depression, issues at school, and acting out behaviors such as aggression. The Court will take these behaviors into consideration when addressing a high conflict case.
In order to combat the issues that arise during a high conflict case, the Court may order the parties participate in other programs in order to resolve ongoing issues. The Court may order the parents utilize communication tools such as Our Family Wizard. This program allows parents to message each other and schedule their children for events in one centralized location without having to contact the other parties’ telephone. The Court may also order counseling for the parents or for the entire family to ensure everyone has a place to address their issues.
The conflict between the parties is a factor when addressing the custody of a minor child. A high conflict case is never easy on any of the parties involved and may result in a negative outcome from the Court if it continues. If you believe you are in a high conflict custody case, please call our office for your free initial phone consultation at 412-281-1988. (Blog by Jennifer Dickquist, Esq.)