High-Conflict Custody Lawyer In Dakota County

imageSome co-parents seem to have chronic disagreements. In some of these co-parenting situations, the parties have no experience working together or never could work together on behalf of their children. In others, the adversarial process of resolving custody issues or events in one or both parents' lives has resulted in a lack of communication and cooperation between the parties so that they can no longer reach agreements on child custody or child support.

Judges can identify custody cases with chronic conflict by the thicknesses of the court file and the long list of motions, cross motions and affidavits filed in the case.

Children tend to have poor outcomes when chronic conflict between parents delays decisions for the children, results in children being expected to do two contradictory things, or disrupts the things that make up children's lives, such as school, friends, etc.

A key to addressing these situations is understanding what drives the conflict. Often, there are underlying factors that lead to high-conflict custody disputes. These include:

  • Mental illness
  • Physical or mental abuse
  • Drug or alcohol addiction
  • Child abuse
  • Parental alienation (real or imagined)
  • Personality disorders
  • Value differences that are fiercely held, including religious and cultural differences

Finding Solutions For High-Conflict Situations

Another key to working with high-conflict situations is identifying the points of conflict that directly impact the children and attempting to reduce them. Depending on the point of conflict — Is there a way the parties can transform their co-parenting to a polite, businesslike model? Should the schedule be adjusted or other terms of a parenting plan be changed to reduce the opportunities for conflict? Can the parents use a forum outside of court to reach agreements or get decisions on disputed issues to reduce delay and disruption to the children?

Working with high-conflict cases is an art, not a science. It sometimes requires a period of trial and error to determine what will work. It is always a matter of gathering information and analyzing the individual case. There is not one solution for all high-conflict cases. For example, my experience is that some high-conflict problems can be addressed by use of a parenting consultant; others require post-decree enforcement motions or modifications to existing orders. Sometimes a nonlegal solution such as family therapy also works or is helpful.

I am Deborah N. Dewalt of Dewalt Law Offices in Burnsville, Minnesota. My goal as a family law lawyer in these high-conflict cases is to maintain curiosity about the sources of the conflict and be open to all possible means to reduce it.

High-Conflict Custody Attorney In Dakota County

If you are struggling to parent in a high-conflict situation, I am available to brainstorm possible ways to reduce the conflict. You can contact me to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.