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Being in a relationship with a High Conflict Person (HCP) or a toxic person can be debilitating. Many adults with children will hold off on seeking help from the courts, or seeking a separation from the HCP in order to preserve the status quo for their children. But, as many are beginning to understand, children raised in a home with a HCP or toxic parent can suffer later in life.

Law Offices of Michael F. Roe has, for decades now, been managing divorce and child custody cases with HCPs.  “Understanding high conflict personalities is the missing piece in managing high conflict disputes.” – Bill Eddy, author of Splitting.

Take a look through our blog and the website for information about divorce and the HCP or personality disordered spouse.  We have the experience and the expertise to manage these cases, and open doors to a better future for parents and their children affected by HCPs.

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People with personality disorders often seem to have variable personalities.  They might be quite charming and reasonable at work and with neighbors and friends, but then transition to chaotic, extreme behaviors at home.  Personality disorders usually begin in childhood or adolescence, and while those around people with personality disorders wish they would change, it doesn’t happen without: 1) recognition, 2) a strong commitment by the person with the traits of the disorder, and, in most cases, 3) years of therapy.

THE DSM-5 CRITERIA FOR BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER INCLUDE SOME OF THE FOLLOWING CHARACTERISTICS:

  • Compromised ability to recognize the feelings and needs of others
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From an article posted today on Dr. Michael Bone’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/drjmichaelbone
 I think the interest in this is related to the difficulty in identifying if parental alienation is going on or if it is not. To this very day, when I am contacted by a parent or attorney about a case where parental alienation is believed to be present, I still rely on these four criteria to satisfy myself that such may likely be the case. While the template that these criteria is not foolproof, it is at least some sort of reasonably and reliable measure to assist in the ruling in or ruling out of its presence.

But enough backstory. The subject of today’s post is the third criteria, Deterioration in the Relationship between the Targeted Parent and the Child(ren).

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I saw this post today on Facebook, and it might be helpful to some families dealing with Parental Alienation:

“Mark David Roseman and Associates offers its Fall 2021 support group for alienated parents, beginning September 22 via Zoom. This group is uniquely different in its compassion and understanding of parents on the journey of separation from their children, with facilitators who respect the healthy integration of mind, body and spirit.

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Our group is spiritual, but we do not espouse any religious or political identity. We are fully committed to the healing of broken families, in order to restore what has been lost after high conflict.”

 

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Below is a synopsis of two new bills signed into law that affect Family Law practice.  HB4121 sets a minimum standard for GALs in terms of their obligation to interview the parents and the children.  Now, most of us would agree that a period of 90 days is too long, and that most competent GALs make a practice of meeting with the parents and children within days or weeks of the appointment of the GAL.  This legislation may be addressing a concern that some GALs ( and I have seen this in operation) can be quite dilitory about their work, and some simply do not accept that the role of a GAl involves competence and diligence.  In most cases, judges and lawyers know who the good GALs are, and those appointments are often made with this understanding in mind. However, there are cases that involve GALs who do competent work, but may not visit with the children as often as they might, and this issue then becomes an area for criticism when the case goes to trial. HB4121 sets a minimum standard, to which GALs either conform, or risk some sanction for failing to do so.

HB2741 is an important change. The IMDMA was amended in 2016 to allow the Court to appoint a clinician to perform therapy in a family law case, with certain underlying findings being made. The hitch has been for a few years that the therapy process and feedback from the clinicians was barred insofar as communication with a GAL was concerned. In my view, this placed the process of therapy into a difficult position where children were concerned, insofar as the GAL has a statutory duty to investigate all aspects of the child’s life to determine the custodial best interests of the child. Now, with this amendment, the GAL may do his/her work to the fullest extent by allowing the feedback from the clinician so long as the HIPAA and Illinois Mental Health Act provisions are followed.

IMDMA GALs

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My Illinois Divorce Blog focuses on a variety of subjects, including the means by which to manage divorce and child custody with a toxic narcissist. I can say that almost every day, I receive a message that sounds like this that came today:

Message: I’m separated from a narcissist and he is constantly violating orders and trying to alienate my child from me. Now they are forcing me to go to court to face him in 2 days and I’m terrified. It will only make it worse. I need help. No one understands but I read your blog and you may be the only lawyer that understands.
Additional Details
From Page:
https://www.illinoisdivorcelawyerblog.com/amp/illinois-divorce-empaths-marriages-narcissists/

 

This message is from someone being harmed by both the toxic narcissist in her life, and well as possibly by her local court system ( I get many calls each month from people outside of Illinois that need help, and I try answer most all of these calls with some help, resources like Bill Eddy’s Splitting book, and a lawyer referral if needed).  For over 25 years, my practice has focused, in large part,  on psychological issues in divorce, and issues that affect the wellbeing of the children of marriages involving personality disorders.

 

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Bill and Melinda Gates — known around the world as tech and charitable titans — are splitting after 27 years of marriage, at the ages of 65 and 56, respectively.

a man and a woman sitting on a bench
Credit: Alessandra Malito Market Watch 

Divorcing at an older age has become increasingly common. This phenomenon, called “gray divorce,” could be the result of a few factors, including the lessening of a stigma around divorce in general, longer life expectancies and differing opinions on what to do with the rest of one’s life.

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The announcement of the Parental Alienation Study Group (PASG) comes at a great time, as we start to try to emerge from COVID lockdowns, and restart these important conferences.  I received the announcement below this morning, and look forward to this conference.  “PASG has 700 members – mostly mental health and legal professionals – from 55 countries. The members of PASG are interested in educating the general public, mental health clinicians, forensic practitioners, attorneys, and judges regarding parental alienation. PASG members are also interested in developing and promoting research on the causes, evaluation, prevention, and treatment of parental alienation.”

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PASG 2021 Conference 9-10 September 2021

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More and more, people in their 50’s and 60’s are recognizing that their marriage has broken down, the children are raised, and they are seeking a legal separation or divorce. In these cases, there are often retirement assets that need to be divided, and other assets, like a home, that need to be valued and the equity determined.  As many American are living into their 80’s and 90’s, many adults find that the want to re-engineer their last trimester of life and find a measure if independence and happiness. Jennifer Thompson wrote an essay that might be helpful to those considering divorce later in life. While written with a female reader in mind, the advice is sound and applies to both men and women in some respects.  From her bio: ” Jennifer Thompson was a financial advisor for over 20 years. Now, as an author and international speaker, she teaches women the techniques to develop a consciousness for abundance for a more compelling life. ”

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7 CONSIDERATIONS WHEN GETTING A DIVORCE LATER IN LIFE?

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Bill Eddy’s High Conflict Institute always has great information in the field of managing High Conflict Personalities in the context of divorce and Family Law cases.  It is difficult, if not impossible, to manage some people that present as High Conflict; often these people have traits of personality disorders that make their behaviors and communications toxic.  As is pointed out below, the HCP (High Conflict Person)  is not going to change, but you as the stable and rational party can always choose how to respond.  One element that the article does not mention is the benefits to using a third party, such as a skilled Parenting Coordinator, to intercede in conflict situations, and allow the rational person to retreat to the safety of the Parenting Coordinator, instead of arguing or fighting with the HCP.  In other words, if the HCP wants a toxic fight, don’t reward the bed behavior. Choose better ways to manage HCPs, and preserve a bit a tranquil space for yourself and the children.

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The 4D’s of High Conflict Divorce

1. Disengage: You are in conflict with your child’s other parent because their words and actions negatively trigger and affect you and your children. And, like most parents, you will do anything to protect your children form harm – physical, verbal and emotional. If you take the time to sort through your triggers and plan a strategy for how to cope when triggered, you will be putting yourself (and your children) on a path for healthier conflict resolution.

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