The high conflict couple in divorce was most likely a high conflict couple in marriage. The difference is in their marriage, they kept up appearances of a happy family so that the kids, extended family members, friends and neighbors would not know. These types of families are not being served well by the family court system because the courts believe that the children need to two parents in cooperation for their children. It’s doubtful that high conflict couples ever had cooperation on anything. Why would it be expected of them now, at a time of high stress?
First off, we don’t know what is underlying the relationship. While the family courts think they understand what is going on, thinking it is due to mental illness of one or both parties, the reality is that they have no clue and wouldn’t believe the people if they told them the exact cause of the relationship conflict.
Many of these cases have chemical dependency issues on going. They always have and they always will. Some of these couples have abuse issues to them. Something has happened to make these people not trust each other or to blame one another for the problems. All of them have had a destruction of the relationship’s level of trust. Maybe there has been infidelity. Maybe one person has had to do the heavy lifting of all the parenting for the children throughout the marriage and resents the hell out of now having to “share” the children. Maybe one or both of them resent the hell out of having constant hand holding by court authorities or maybe the court expects them to “hand hold” their ex and that is something they stopped doing long ago for good reason.
No matter what you think of high conflict couples, the system does not seem to be helping them. While coparenting is best for children, the children from homes of couples who fight all the time have never experienced their parents coparenting and so except for court interventions, they, quite frankly would not know any different
There are some couples who are extremely high conflict. It might be a good idea to let them have the relationship they want, even if it includes having no contact for the rest of their lives. You just cannot legislate relationships.