In the autumn of 2005, I happened across an article about high-conflict divorce. I’d worked in divorce law long enough to know that these were the outlier cases—the seemingly impossible cases that were beyond what most would consider a “normal” divorce—they were family destroyers. These cases did not settle easily and often required a judge to decide every matter at issue. They usually took a year or more to be finalized and then ended up becoming “frequent filers,” coming back to court to fight about anything and everything.
These cases drained the budgets of the courts who adjudicated them, served as a source of frustration and helplessness for the professionals who handled them, and wiped out savings, retirement, and college funds for the high-conflict couple. But worst of all, the parents’ behavior affected their children in damaging, disturbing ways.