What Happens in High-Conflict Custody Cases?

By Michael DiFalco

Child custody cases are frequently contentious matters. However, some divorces involving child custody issues are far more explosive than others. 

These cases proceed down the same path as any other divorce or custody dispute. However, the high conflict involved can sometimes tweak the process. Parents involved in disputes of this nature will do well to hire the services of an experienced child custody lawyer with the experience and skill necessary to protect their interests during disputes. 

Formidable Impasses 

In high-conflict child custody cases, the parents reach points where there is little to no agreement on the material aspects of custody. Neither parent in these types of cases is willing to budge enough to allow the proceedings to move forward. 

Some areas that lock parents in high conflict include:

  • The child’s primary residence
  • Visitation
  • Holiday custody and visitation

Keep in mind that these cases involve more than simple disagreements. High-conflict custody cases deal with formidable impasses that effectively stall divorce proceedings. Nonetheless, child custody cases must be resolved, regardless of the impasses involved. 

Factors Leading to Formidable Impasses

Custody cases are adversarial by their very nature; if they are necessary in the first place, it means that there is some level of conflict between the divorcing parties. That said, several factors can help explain why certain child custody cases become more volatile than others:

  • Poor communication habits or practices, such as failure to answer or return calls 
  • Personality traits and issues, such as manipulative and controlling behaviors
  • Financial disputes, including regarding spousal and child support

Disagreements over parenting and child-rearing techniques are also a common reason for high-conflict custody battles. 

Child Custody Experts

Child custody experts known as parenting coordinators now frequently get involved in high-conflict custody cases. The courts have come to realize how effective these professionals can be in moving cases along through the system and unclogging backlogs. 

These experts are typically professionals, such as lawyers and child psychologists who have extensive experience in dispute resolution and child custody issues. They are quite effective in helping parents and the courts navigate the complexities and pitfalls typical of high-conflict custody cases. 

Protection During High-Conflict Custody Cases

As you would imagine, especially contentious custody matters can take a toll on all parties involved. Parents should take a few basic steps to help protect themselves and their children during this trying time. 


Child custody cases address the best interests of the child. However, as a parent, your well-being is also important. Your child needs you to be mentally and emotionally healthy enough to care for their needs. As such, taking care of yourself during a high-conflict custody battle is paramount for ensuring the best interests of your child.

You may find comfort and support from friends and family or a support group of members facing problems like yours. You may also consider turning to professionals like psychologists and counselors to help you cope and weather the tough times. 


Boundary setting is crucial to your well-being and sanity as a parent involved in a high-conflict custody case. As mentioned, high-conflict custody cases are extremely stressful and frustrating. Setting boundaries helps to keep you in a protected position of strength and prevents you from overextending socially and emotionally. 

Fierce Representation

With a fierce advocate safeguarding your rights, you can get the peace of mind you deserve during this difficult time. You can also enjoy pertinent and effective legal counsel with an experienced lawyer on your side. 

Aiello & DiFalco, LLP — Child Custody Lawyers Ready to Help

High-conflict custody cases are quite stressful for parents. The team of child custody lawyers at Aiello & DiFalco is here to help take the burden of custody disputes off your shoulders and fight to protect your interests. Parents in Garden City, NY, can contact us at any time for the family law representation they need. Call today.

About the Author
I am a partner at Aiello & DiFalco LLP, and my priority for my clients is to guide them through an arduous court case to provide them with the opportunity to write the next chapter in their life. I tailor my approach to each client’s priorities and positions, and to the extent that matters can be predicted, I will always provide a realistic perspective of how the law could be applied to the particular facts and circumstances of a case. Since I thrive on helping people and solving problems, I bring an optimistic and positive approach to practicing in a very difficult area of law. With more than a decade of experience handling hundreds of cases, I have the ability to get results on the issues my clients view as priorities. When cases or certain issues cannot be settled, I have a solid record of success at trials, hearings, and on appeals. Feel free to contact me for a free initial consultation, I am always available to help.