Dealing with Your Spouse During the Divorce Process

QUESTION: What are some pointers that you may have in getting along with your ex-spouse to be during the process of a divorce? What advice do you have to keep it from escalating badly during this difficult time?

  1. Suggest counseling. Not marriage counseling to keep you together. That ship has sailed. But there are counselors who will help a couple navigate the emotional shoals of divorce for the spouses and for the kids. Counseling isn’t for everyone, but if your spouse is open to the idea, give it a try. Many times its covered by your health insurance.
  2. When you wonder if you can take it another moment, keep in mind always: this too shall pass.
  3. If you believe your spouse is just as eager to get this divorce over with as you are, suggest that you go to mediation sooner than later.
  4. You can’t control your spouse (or at least cannot control him/her very well or consistently), but you can control yourself. So control yourself. It is difficult (at first), but not impossible (indeed, it’s necessary in emotionally mature people)
    • You know great people with good, even great self-control. Their self-control contributes to making them great. A divorce is, in fact, a useful (yes, I said “useful”) opportunity (yes, an opportunity) to learn to control your reactions and reactive nature.
    • You may not deserve to be going through this. You may be an innocent victim. We are all innocent victims in one way or another. How we react to life’s injustices are what determine whether we will be happy in spite of the setbacks or miserable.
  5. When your spouse is disparaging and critical of you about your positions you are taking in the divorce action, it may be helpful to respond these kinds of ways:
    • “If you believe I am so confused and mistaken, let’s get this case to trial as soon as possible, so that we can see whether that’s true.”
    • “If you believe I am so confused and mistaken, let’s get this case to trial as soon as possible, so that you can win quickly and easily.”
    • “This goes beyond just being annoying. This is harassment. Knock it off, or you leave me no choice but to call the police and/or go to the court for relief.”
  6. Let your attorney shield you from some of the nastier disputes and controversies.
    • Now realize that your attorney is not your babysitter or bodyguard, but attorneys are professional dispute handlers. And they’re not as close to your spouse emotionally as you are. That professional detachment helps them deal with some disputes better than you may.
    • Your attorney may know how to nip some disputes in the bud. Either by citing the controlling laws/rules your spouse and/or his/her attorney to show them the error of their ways or by flexing a little legal muscle and getting a court order to shut down your spouse’s misconduct.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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