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    July 3, 2023
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    Child Custody, High Conflict
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    Steven A. Hemmat

Abusive Use of Conflict in Family Law Cases

This article delves into the issue of abusive use of conflict in Washington State family law, exploring its meaning, potential dangers, court remedies, and best practices to manage and avoid such behavior, all aimed at helping laymen navigate these turbulent waters.

In the sphere of family law, particularly in Washington State, there’s an issue that often arises but remains less understood by laypersons: abusive use of conflict. This phenomenon refers to a situation where one party in a family law dispute intentionally fuels discord and creates conflict, leveraging the inherent adversarial nature of the legal system to inflict emotional or financial harm upon the other party.

Abusive use of conflict often surfaces in divorce proceedings, custody disputes, and other family law cases, characteristically by individuals who may be unwilling to compromise or use conflict as a means of retaining control or power. It’s essential to understand the nature of this behavior, its potential impacts, the remedies available through the court, and the best practices to handle such scenarios.

Understanding Abusive Use of Conflict

Abusive use of conflict goes beyond the common disagreements one expects in family law cases. It’s an excessive, continual fostering of conflict that disrupts the legal process, exhausts the other party emotionally, financially, or both, and potentially harms any children involved. It may manifest through various behaviors, such as non-compliance with court orders, constant legal maneuvers that prolong the case unnecessarily, or consistent refusal to cooperate in co-parenting arrangements.

Dangers and Drawbacks

The ramifications of abusive use of conflict are profound. They not only affect the smooth functioning of the legal process but also pose serious psychological impacts on the involved parties and children.

Abusive conflict can turn a divorce or custody case into an emotionally exhausting, lengthy, and expensive process. The party on the receiving end may face significant financial burden due to the endless legal maneuvers, not to mention the emotional turmoil from being dragged through a seemingly unending conflict.

For children involved, the consequences are even more severe. Kids may become collateral damage, with the consistent conflict affecting their mental health and overall well-being. Studies show that children exposed to high levels of parental conflict may experience issues with academic performance, social interactions, and emotional stability.

Court Remedies

In Washington State, the courts recognize the problem of abusive use of conflict and offer several remedies. The court, acting in the best interests of the children and the fair administration of justice, can impose sanctions or issue specific orders to curb such behaviors.

The court may modify custody and visitation rights if one parent is engaging in abusive use of conflict that is harmful to the child. It might award more decision-making power or custody time to the other parent, or it could enforce supervised visitation.

Courts can also order individuals engaging in this behavior to pay the other party’s attorney fees, as a way to compensate for the financial drain the unnecessary conflict has caused. Moreover, courts can require parties to participate in alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation to decrease the conflict levels and expedite case resolution.

Expectations and Best Practices

Dealing with a party engaging in abusive use of conflict can be challenging, but certain strategies can help manage and even alleviate the situation.

Firstly, obtaining qualified legal counsel is paramount. An experienced attorney understands the complexities of such behavior and can guide you through the legal process, ensuring your rights and interests are protected.

Secondly, maintaining comprehensive records of all interactions and violations is crucial. This provides tangible evidence of the abusive use of conflict and can be instrumental in court proceedings.

Thirdly, consider seeking support from mental health professionals. They can provide coping strategies for you and any children involved, assisting in managing the emotional strain that comes with these situations.

Lastly, cooperation with court-ordered programs and processes is key. Participate fully in mediation or counseling programs, as this shows your willingness to resolve the issues at hand.

In Conclusion

Abusive use of conflict is a complex and potentially damaging issue in family law disputes. However, with a clear understanding of what it entails, knowledge of available court remedies, and adopting best practices, one can navigate these difficult scenarios more effectively. Remember, every case is unique, and getting personalized legal advice is always the best course of action. By working closely with your legal counsel, you can weather this storm and come out stronger on the other side.

If you are looking for legal guidance in the Seattle area, contact the Hemmat Law Group today at (206) 682-5200 to speak with a dedicated family law attorney. We have extensive experience dealing with family law matters and we are standing by to assist you.

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The Hemmat Law Group (HLG) was founded in 1994 by Steven Amir Hemmat, a former DOJ Trial Attorney. We specialize in family law, supporting victims of the legal system.

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Article by Steven A. Hemmat
Founder, CEO