For people that don’t have all that much experience with the process of divorce, it’s common to think that all divorces are bitter. However, the truth is far from that; amicable, low-conflict divorces can and do happen. The ones with the highest level of conflict, however, tend to have some things in common:

No water under the bridge

Every relationship has its problems. Maybe one side doesn’t close the cabinets. Maybe one side really never tried to change a diaper. Resentment can build slowly, leading to a lot of anger. When the marriage starts to come apart, those resentments spill over, and it can be hard to let go.

Lots at stake

Contentiousness is often a result of extremely high stakes for both parties. This can look like:

  • Considerable marital assets
  • Business deals
  • The family home
  • Children

These issues can turn even the most well-meaning parties heading to divorce against each other. The difficulty in resolving these questions always raises tensions. If not handled appropriately, it can be one of the major divorce fights.

“You’ve got an overdeveloped sense of vengeance. It’s going to get you into trouble someday.”

Similar to the minor issues in the marriage, large transgressions can also lead to major complications in the divorce. In fact, a vengeful person can have an oversized impact on the divorce. According to Psychology today, these divorces are motivated by a sense of punishment. In this sense, the person isn’t pursuing the end of the marriage but destruction.

An inconceivable future

For some, however, the anger and toxicity come from the most understandable place imaginable: uncertainty. People who do not know exactly what is to come in their immediate future will often take that anxiety out. This can lead to rapid changes in strategy or an unwillingness to accept any settlement.

In all of these cases, it is best to consider the most thoughtful and careful way to pursue ending your marriage.