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Some couples manage to remain friends after a divorce, while others just want to be done with each other, so they can walk away. Then, of course, some couples end up in what can seem like a never-ending battle to the bitter end.

Which category will your divorce fall into? Here are the signs that you’re probably facing a “high-conflict” divorce that will require aggressive representation:

  1. You already know your spouse has a personality disorder. People with narcissistic personality disorder or borderline personality disorders, for example, may be particularly prone to acting on impulse or so self-focused that they simply can’t muster any empathy for others — including their own family members.
  2. Your spouse is highly deceitful. Maybe you and your spouse both kept a few secrets toward the end of your relationship, but a spouse who has a significant history of lying or gaslighting you is likely to continue down that road without regard to how hard it will make the divorce.
  3. Your spouse is abusive. Abusive people tend to lack responsibility and blame others for their troubles entirely. If your spouse tends to lash out in anger or is controlling, that’s a big sign that trouble is likely.
  4. Your spouse plays the “innocent victim.” If your spouse is already trying to damage your reputation or make your children turn against you, that’s probably not going to change. You may have to fight back — hard — to protect your interests and your family.
  5. Your spouse can’t compromise. If your spouse equates any concessions at all with “losing” in the divorce, you can’t reason with that kind of attitude.

Most of the time, it makes sense for couples to try to negotiate an amicable split. With a high-conflict spouse, however, wisdom dictates that you should just accept the situation as it is and prepare your plan of action accordingly.