Managing Conflict During A Divorce
By: Pamela Edwards-Swift
Certified Family Law Specialist
When people divorce it is generally due to the culmination of years of conflict. There has been one fight after another, which is usually strung along with a common thread. The fight could be about the kids, the dog or her mother, but usually there is a common problem at the core of it all. The basis of the arguments may not be the ultimate cause of the demise of the relationship, but at some point someone has had enough and divorce is eminent.
The irony of it all is that when you enter family law court, you will find that the Judge, and your attorney, want you and your (soon to be) ex-spouse to act civilly toward one another! Oh, really? You’ve got to be kidding, right? It sounds like an impossible task because if you got along so well, you wouldn’t need the divorce!
Like I said, it sounds impossible. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. After all, there is now light at the end of the tunnel as soon you’ll be living separate and apart. Here are a few things to guide you so that you can manage the conflict during a divorce:
Do not return insult for insult. This one may be tough, but think of what you are accomplishing by returning an insult. Probably nothing at all. It’s doubtful you are going to hurt the other person’s feelings at this point, as you are probably repeating something you’ve said a thousand times before. If your wife or husband throw out an insult, just smile and walk away, or hang up the phone. It will drive them crazy.
Avoid needless quarrels. This goes along with the old statement, "Don’t sweat the small stuff." Choose your arguments wisely. You may be really angry that your husband continues to keep the toilet seat up, or that your wife refuses to clean the house even though she is home all day. However, at this point in time, who really cares? You’ll be living in different places soon. Just put the seat down, or vacuum the carpet, and let it go. Save your energy for negotiating spousal support or child custody issues.
Think before you speak. When you are irritated with someone, it is very easy to lash out.Be careful not to speak out when you are angry as it is too easy to say things that you cannot take back and that could cause a situation to escalate to the point of no return. Just take a deep breath, and remember what your mother told you, "If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all."
Hang in there. This too shall come to pass, and you will have somehow survived.