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Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny

What to Expect in a High Conflict Divorce in Washington State

Molly B. Kenny
Founder and Principal Divorce Attorney

Divorce is hard enough. Being difficult or contentious exacerbates matters. If you are facing divorce and dealing with a difficult spouse, you most likely have tons of questions. How do you deal with a conflictive spouse? What’s the best way to come to some agreement? How do you not lose your sanity in the process?

To glean some insight into the subject of dealing with high conflict people during divorce, I sat down with nationally recognized author Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq. from the High Conflict Institute and asked some important questions many divorcing couples want to know.

Dealing with a Difficult, Conflictive Spouse

Eddy defined a conflictive spouse as one that isn’t interested in compromise, but rather wants to cut you out of the picture or makes unreasonable demands. They also tend to be impulsive, reactive, manipulative, and full of blame.

When you are facing a high conflict divorce with someone who has borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, or is just vindictive by nature, there are several things that Eddy said you can do that might help.

  • Realize that the other person’s behavior is not something you caused. An extremely conflictive person will focus on getting whatever it is he or she wants and not trying to reach an equitable resolution. 
  • Surround yourself with a good Washington State divorce lawyer, therapist, and other people in your life who care about your wellbeing.


Educate yourself on this type of person and what to expect when dealing with someone who is highly conflictive, as well as how to pursue an amicable divorce

Interview with Bill Eddy: A Must Watch for Those in High Conflict Divorces

Bill Eddy is a lawyer, mediator, and therapist, and the author of several books, including Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder (2011). His High Conflict Institute provides online divorce and parenting articles, as well “books and consultations regarding High Conflict People (HCP) to individuals and professionals dealing with legal, workplace, healthcare, and educational disputes.”

I was amazed at the wealth of insightful information that Eddy shared with me during our interview. I recommend the video to all of my clients going through a contentious divorce.

Some of the topics we covered include the following.

  • Typical traits of combative people
  • Characteristics of certain personality disorders that can complicate divorce
  • Dealing with email exchanges during a divorce
  • How to parent during a divorce and what to tell your child
  • How to pick a good therapist


Typically, one person alone cannot solve a divorce when dealing with someone with a conflictive personality. If you are going through a divorce and are in need of counsel, please call my office at 425-460-0550 to schedule a consult. Together, we can address the pressing issues and work towards a resolution.