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  • Writer's pictureLaurie Itkin, CDFA

Planning on Divorcing Your High-Conflict Personality Spouse?

When we are infatuated with a new love interest, it is difficult to notice or acknowledge when he or she exhibits high-conflict personality patterns. I certainly have dated my fair share of men with these attributes.

I'm fortunate to have been married for over a decade to a husband who is an excellent communicator and doesn't hesitate to go to couples counseling when we both agree our relationship needs a tune-up.

But other men and women who have married high-conflict personality partners are not so fortunate. As the years in the marriage progress, so do the patterns. They want to separate from or divorce their spouse but they are terrified of the negotiation process.

Many erroneously believe that divorce mediation cannot work when one spouse has a high-conflict personality. I disagree and have worked on numerous such cases as a certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA). I routinely refer my California clients to mediators all over the state who have specialized training in this area.

A neutral mediator can be effective in facilitating discussions and negotiations between the spouses, particularly when the vulnerable spouse consults with a family law attorney about his or rights. In order to negotiate a settlement where future financial security is a priority, I recommend the vulnerable spouse also hire a Mediation Money Mentor.

A Mediation Money Mentor is a CDFA that supports only one spouse throughout the divorce mediation process, helping that spouse gather financial information about his or her current net worth and future financial needs, examines the other spouse's financial disclosures for validity, and comes up with property division and child and spousal support options that will be financially fair now and in the future.

With a CDFA in your corner, you will feel less intimidated by your spouse and more in control over your financial situation. Divorce is likely the most significant financial transaction you will ever make in your life and trying to negotiate and compromise with a spouse with a high-conflict personality can be difficult, frightening, and frustrating.

To learn more about the flat-rate Mediation Money Mentor package click here.

To learn about the four primary characteristics of high-conflict people I highly recommend Bill Eddy's article, "Four Warning Signs of a High-Conflict Partner," published in Psychology Today.


Laurie Itkin is a financial advisor, wealth manager, and certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA). She is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, Every Woman Should Know Her Options: Invest Your Way to Financial Empowerment. In both 2017 and 2018 Investopedia named Ms. Itkin one of the top 100 most influential financial advisors in the country.

Through her financial consulting company, The Options Lady, she provides divorce-related financial planning and analysis to individuals and couples throughout all stages of the divorce process, with a specialty in California divorces. She is a member of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners (ADFP) and is certified by the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts (IDFA).

Laurie has been quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, and San Diego Union Tribune. She has also appeared as a guest on broadcast news channels.


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