You may have heard the saying that divorce is only 5% legal- the remaining 95% is emotional. It’s not true: very few divorces transpire without a lot of sadness, tears, and yes, anger. However, a Court cannot render a decision that does not conform with the requirements of the law. This is why many litigants find it difficult to traverse the legal and procedural approaches in a dissolution of marriage action.
While your emotions are normal and to be expected, they can lead to arguments that derail the divorce process and can turn an uncontested action into a lengthy and expensive contested one. Many couples start out believing they have an agreement or will quickly agree to all the terms to amicably resolve their case. Unfortunately, that happens less often than many are aware. In this blog, we’ll share four tips for handling disagreements during divorce and preventing them from impacting your future.
Maybe you’re angry that he yelled at the kids a lot or wasted money that the family couldn’t afford to lose. Perhaps there was an affair or violence. Once you’ve made your decision to divorce, focus on the end. Now is not the time to rehash everything that occurred in the underlying marriage. Instead, take a deep breath and focus on the real source of the conflict, whether it be a disagreement about a proposed time-sharing schedule or a dispute over who gets to stay in the marital home. Remember that your goal is resolution, not venting your feelings over what cannot now be changed. Take the long view, and see your future single self, thriving and moving past this relationship.
If your spouse disagrees with you about an issue (for example, whether the marriage is irretrievably broken), they may get angry and contentious. Hear them out and then gently state that your decision is final and you won’t be dissuaded. State that you want a divorce that respects everyone’s needs and feelings, and that you will give them the time they need to accept the situation. Communicate that moving on is best for everyone, as a strife-filled acrimonious relationship is not what either of you intended. Staying in a relationship for someone else and against your better judgment will result in resentment for the person who stayed and unrequited affection for the person who kept them there.
If your spouse is being verbally aggressive, you may be tempted to yell back. Don’t do it. Instead, listen quietly. Understand that they are likely in emotional pain, and even encourage them to keep talking. Although doing so may be difficult, try summarizing your perception of their viewpoint so that they know you understand where they are coming from. Communicate that you value their opinion and that you two will figure it out together. Many couples spend unnecessary legal expenses in protracted litigation to stick it to the other side. Remember, this is a legal process you’ll be bound by for years to come regarding your children or retirement. Cooler heads prevail when making long-term legal decisions. If needed, consult a divorce coach or therapist to get you through this aspect of your divorce.
Divorce will arouse intense anxiety. Is your spouse worried about how they will afford a new place to live? Are they afraid that they won’t see the children regularly? Instead of becoming frustrated and dismissive, acknowledge their fears and reassure them that you will both come to a fair and reasonable agreement regarding a parenting plan and property division. If they are still upset, empathize with them but explain the change in the family dynamic will be better for your future selves. Many of our former clients became best friends with their former spouses after the finalization of the divorce proceeding, although they thought they would never speak again at the time of the final judgment. Give yourself time. It will work out in the end—you’ll see.
At McKINNON LEGAL, we have represented many clients through their divorces and will use our knowledge and experience to help you achieve a result that represents a positive new future. If you know you are going to file for divorce and need compassionate and supportive counsel, contact us today.