The Early Identification and Streaming
of Cases of High Conflict Separation and Divorce: A Review


The following questions formed the basis for the interviews.

Concerning the incidence of "high conflict" divorces.

The special Joint Committee heard last year many references about the incidence of high conflict divorces. The incidence of these situations was estimated at between 10 and 15 percent of all divorcing families.

Concerning the definition of "high conflict" divorces.

This research is attempting to develop a typology, which will help in the early identification of "high conflict" situations so that these families might be diverted or "streamed" into alternative dispute resolution services.

Concerning the harmful effects of high conflict.

The majority of research shows that high conflict situations after divorce have an extremely high detrimental effect on children.

Several research studies indicate that the harmful effects of high conflict may be overly estimated. These studies show that the damage for children actually occurs in the pre-divorce conflict, not the post-divorce conflict.

Concerning the effect of divorce on children.

Most research shows that all divorces have a detrimental effect on children. However, there does appear to be some disagreement concerning whether these effects are long lasting or permanent, or whether they are a difficult transition period that most children get through without any lasting harm.

Concerning the early identification of high conflict situations.

This research is attempting to determine the feasibility of early identification and streaming of high conflict divorces.

Concerning the effectiveness of various models of streaming high conflict divorce families.

This research is exploring whether there is any proven benefit of streaming the high conflict families out of the normal processes of court litigation into alternative forms of dispute resolution.