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Tips for navigating a high-conflict divorce

While ideally a divorce will be relatively civil, this is not always the case, and some Kansas residents may be involved in a high-conflict one. There are a few steps a person can take to deal with an uncooperative estranged spouse in a divorce.

People should protect themselves by getting everything in writing. This includes emails and text messages, which should be kept short and neutral and only about necessary things. Putting things in writing should also include a parenting journal. This is just a record of day-to-day parenting that may be useful if there are accusations of abuse. People may also need to get formal support and custody orders in place.

As much as possible, parents should try to shield children from conflict. They should resist any efforts the other parent makes to use the children as a weapon, and if an argument begins during a custody exchange, the parent should deflect it. In some cases, a temporary restraining order might be necessary if one parent will not stick to agreements about communication and harasses the other parent.

People should also try to get as many financial records together as possible including tax returns and bank statements. This may be helpful if the spouse tries to hide assets. However, a high-conflict situation still does not mean mediation is impossible.

If mediation breaks down, the divorce will have to proceed through litigation. A person may want to discuss this process with the attorney including what to expect and how to behave. While the aim of mediation is generally to reach a cooperative solution, litigation takes a more adversarial approach. However, a judge will attempt to make a decision about property division that is fair. For child custody, the judge will use the best interests of the child as the standard.

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