Is it Really High Conflict Divorce or Post Separation Abuse?


Some {couples} can divorce amicably, some can divorce bumpy however tolerably, and a few undergo what’s societally known as a “high conflict” divorce. According to, excessive battle is outlined as “divorces where one or both spouses engage in negative behaviors to intentionally derail the process or inflict unnecessary emotional pain on one another.”  

However, if one partner makes use of coercive ways to achieve extended energy over their ex-spouse, “high conflict” might not be the proper labeling; it might be thought of Post Separation Abuse. This is an rising label within the psychological well being subject and is changing into obvious in authorized settings. 

What is Post Separation Abuse?

Couple fighting in an abusive relationship

Post Separation Abuse is outlined as the continuing, willful sample of intimidation of a former intimate associate together with authorized abuse, financial abuse, threats and endangerment to youngsters, isolation and discrediting and harassment and stalking (Spearman, Ok. J., Hardesty, J. L., & Campbell, J. (2023). Post- separation abuse: An idea evaluation. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 79, 1225–1246). 

Post Separation Abuse is taken into account intimate associate violence (IPV) and never solely harms former spouses however shared youngsters as effectively. Intimate associate violence might be outlined as bodily, sexual, or psychological hurt by a present or former intimate associate or partner (National Institute of Justice). 

Some types of Post Separation Abuse are: 

  • Abusing the courtroom system by submitting frivolous motions. Abusive spouses are extraordinarily litigious; submitting motions on the drop of a hat to intimidate, coerce and harass their sufferer into relenting on a problem, or to make authorized threats as a present of energy. 
  • Abusive spouses could search a change in custody that realistically is unfeasible, simply as a way of revenge and punishment to the sufferer. Either approach, the sufferer is nearly at all times left with authorized charges, day off work, and emotional depletion to battle every battle.  
  • Abusive spouses could delay youngster help funds or withhold cost for courtroom ordered objects similar to extracurricular actions or well being associated points to create hardship for the sufferer.  
  • Abusive spouses typically threaten and harass verbally, digitally, and bodily to intimidate and demean their sufferer. Repeatedly sending disparaging emails, bullying texts, or bodily making their presence identified (standing in entrance of their associate at a baseball recreation) so their associate by no means feels secure are all indicators of coercive ways.  
  • Abusive spouses could try to achieve favor with others within the household or neighborhood by manipulating the narrative (gaslighting) in an try to make their sufferer look “crazy.”  
  • Abusive spouses don’t cooperatively and collaboratively co-parent. They will do the other or present a separate algorithm for his or her dwelling to undermine the sufferer’s values. 

High Conflict Divorce vs. Post Separation Abuse

Man standing over woman who is scared

What is the distinction between excessive battle divorce and Post Separation Abuse? High battle typically entails each companions difficult one another, combating in courtroom and out, with each being equally answerable for the battle. Post Separation Abuse is usually one associate utilizing energy and management to abuse the authorized system, present false narratives and destroy the sufferer who should at all times be on the defensive.  

Family courtroom professionals and psychological well being professionals should work collectively to acknowledge the abusive patterns and supply safeguards to guard victims and their youngsters. Common Post Separation Abuse patterns in household courtroom seem like: 

  • Failure to pay youngster help or observe a courtroom order.  
  • Using manipulative, coercive management language and conduct to hurt sufferer associate, not work collaboratively. 
  • Frivolous motions filed. 
  • History of home violence or coercive management within the conjugal relationship. 

According to the Washington University School of Law, “when the abuser takes the victim to court, often repeatedly, each encounter may traumatize her again. She is forced to defend herself against her abuser, appear in the same room with him, and listen to him accuse her of wrongdoing or inadequacy. Additionally, because the court system largely does not recognize or understand post-separation intimate and judicial terrorism, the very forum in which the victim seeks safety and justice may deny her both, retraumatizing her in yet another way.” 

Results of Post Separation Abuse

Male with emotional trauma on couch in therapy

The emotional and bodily consequence to the sufferer of Post Separation Abuse is traumatic and have to be dealt with with care and compassion with the assistance of certified legislation professionals, household, buddies, and a licensed therapist who understands the coercive nature of the sort of IPV.  

Often, victims really feel: 

  • Depleted emotionally and financially. 
  • Stuck on this sample. 
  • Traumatized to make any choice. 
  • Mistrusting and insecure of themselves and everybody round them. 
  • Heartbroken for his or her youngsters whom they share with an abusive ex. 
  • Fearful of the subsequent transfer their abusive ex could make. 
  • Bombarded with negativity and unable to see the great on this planet. 
  • Misunderstood by household and buddies. 

Divorce is troublesome sufficient, with out having to face abuse after separation, particularly when youngsters are concerned. Post Separation Abuse is about coercive management and energy over the sufferer, and is going on in courtrooms as we speak.  

The GoodTherapy registry may be useful to you to discover a therapist when you have skilled a excessive battle divorce or Post Separation Abuse. There are 1000’s of therapists listed who would like to stroll with you in your journey. Find the help you want as we speak.


Spearman, Ok. J., Hardesty, J. L., & Campbell, J. (2023). Post- separation abuse: An idea evaluation. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 79, 1225–1246 https://doi. org/10.1111/jan.1531 

(n.d.). Overview of intimate associate violence. National Institute of Justice.,former%20intimate%20partner%20or%20spouse 

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