Conflict Resolution Expert Bill Eddy on How to Post-divorce Parent With a High-conflict Ex

Leanne Townsend is the founding partner of Townsend Family Law. Each month, our team sends out a newsletter full of helpful tips, advice and insights to help you navigate through family law challenges.


Conflict resolution expert Bill Eddy on how to post-divorce parent with a high-conflict ex

Divorced parents who refuse to speak to each other should think twice before insisting that all communication concerning their children go through their lawyers.

That scorched earth policy might be appropriate in an extreme situation, but ideally, parents will find a way to communicate that doesn’t harm each other and prioritizes what is best for their children.

On a special episode of Divorce Explained, Leanne Townsend and Steve Benmor spoke with Bill Eddy, a leading expert in high-conflict personalities and relationships.

Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer at the High Conflict Institute in California, Mr. Eddy is a family lawyer, therapist, mediator and author of more than 20 books on high-conflict personalities.

Mr. Eddy and a team of conflict resolution experts have developed a communication technique known as the BIFF Response, which has been adopted by more than one million people navigating acrimonious relationships.

BIFF is an acronym for brief, informative, friendly and firm — the four guiding principles for effective co-parenting that can reduce animosity and conflict.

Even if you are skeptical about the technique, Mr. Eddy suggests there are solid reasons to give BIFF a try, including the fact that it will make you look like the more reasonable party in court.

“It looks better to be associated with BIFF emails and texts in court than to be associated with horrible language and terrible words.

If you are co-parenting with someone who has a high-conflict personality, you do not want to miss this important episode.

Put it in writing: Strategies for parenting after divorce when your former partner was abusive

How do you co-parent with an abusive ex? You don’t.

Instead, it’s better to practice parallel parenting, which allows the children to benefit from time with both parents, but the interaction between the parents is minimized.

Parallel parenting strategies can involve using a shared online calendar (so you don’t have to discuss activities and schedules), communicating in writing (so you always have a record of the message), and making rules around communication (i.e., no personal attacks, communication can only be about the children, etc.).

To learn more about parallel parenting, and how to identify an abusive co-parenting relationship, check out this recent article.

Please say hello to Aliya Aneja, Townsend Family Law’s newest team member

Townsend Family Law is pleased to announce that Aliya Aneja has joined the Townsend Family Law team as an associate lawyer.

Aliya has practised family law exclusively since her call to the bar, although she completed her articles at a full-service law firm in Ontario where she was able to gain experience in various areas of law. 

Prior to attending Western Law, Aliya received an Honours Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Biological Anthropology at the University of Toronto. She was born and raised in the Greater Toronto Area and is excited to be practising in her home community.

If you would like to reach out to Aliya, you can contact her here.

Highlights from Divorce Explained

Every week, Leanne Townsend co-hosts an Instagram Live show with family lawyer Steve Benmor, where they discuss issues on the minds of those who are divorced or divorcing. Here are the topics from a couple of recent shows. Click on the photo to check out the full episode.

What is a parenting assessment and should I agree to one?

A parenting assessment may be ordered by the court if parents can’t agree on parenting schedules and decision-making for their children. In this episode, we discuss what’s involved in the process.

Benefits and drawbacks of open and closed mediation

Family mediation is often a faster and more cost-effective way to resolve divorce disputes, but which type of mediation is best? We explain the pros and cons of open and closed mediation in this episode.

Looking for more information?

Looking for more information on what to expect during a divorce, abusive relationships, love and money, life after divorce or other family law topics?

Check out the In the News and Blog sections of my website where there’s a wealth of great content to get you up to speed on everything you need to know.

Leanne Townsend, Family Lawyer

Partner, Brauti Thorning LLP
Brookfield Place161 Bay Street,
Suite 2900,
Toronto, ON M5J 2S1

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Leanne Townsend Lawyer and Divorce Coach
Leanne Townsend is a multifaceted entrepreneur and attorney experienced in the areas of family law and domestic violence. She provides a full range of family law legal services in addition to running workshops and other programs to support people as they go through divorce.

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