Tag: kindness

Should I be nice to my spouse during a divorce?

That depends on what you mean by “nice”.

Do you mean “with kindness”? Not necessarily kindness, but certainly decency. You are morally obligated to treat your spouse with decency, but you don’t have to go out of your way to make the spouse you are divorcing happy. You don’t have to capitulate to your spouse’s unfair or unreasonable demands.

Do you mean “with honesty and fairness”? If so, then yes: you are morally obligated to be honest and fair with everyone, but again aren’t obligated to capitulate to your spouse’s unfair or unreasonable demands, nor are you in any way obligated to tolerate being treated unfairly by your spouse.

Do you mean “forgiving”? If so, then yes: you are morally obligated to forgive your spouse for the wrong’s he/she did you, but forgiveness does not mean “acceptance”. Forgiving the people who have deceived or betrayed me in the past does not require me to trust them in the future. I forgive them so that I don’t dwell on the hurt done to me, so that I don’t let the injury continue to harm me, so that the one who did me wrong is shown the mercy needed to give him/her the best opportunity to change for the better without eternal regret or shame hampering the repentance process.

Fighting fire with fire will only intensify the pain and misery. Being the better man (or woman, as the case may be), living up to your virtuous values and standards of conduct is the only way to move on with peace and happiness (and you can get back there). Easier said than done, yes, but the only way.

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

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Why Treat My Ex Kindly When My Ex Won’t Reciprocate?

QUESTION: My ex wants to take our child out of the state in two weeks for a holiday weekend. Our court order provides that a parent can’t take our child out of state without the other parent’s advance written consent. There’s no good reason why I should not consent, but my ex has denied me my parent-time several times this year. I feel like I should condition my consent to travel out of state upon my ex agreeing that I get make-up parent-time. Does that make sense? Will doing that harm me?

ANSWER: First, this is a great question. To answer it clear: No, stay frosty and stay classy at all times. Do as you would be done by. Don’t let your ex set you up to look like an a-hole.

If your ex asks your permission to go out of state with your child and there’s no good reason your ex should not travel out of state with your child, you respond with something like this:

Dear Ex,

You asked me earlier about whether you had my consent to travel with Billy out of state, November 1 through _______. I consent. I’m not aware of any reason why I shouldn’t consent. I’m not putting any restrictions or conditions on my consent. Now when I want to travel out of state with Billy I hope you will reciprocate the same way I’ve treated you and your request. Thank you.

If, after sending a note like that to your ex, your ex then tries to withhold consent from you to travel out of state (or tries to inconvenience you or harm you in other ways), your ex will be glaringly and truthfully and inescapably exposed as a hypocrite who acts in bad faith. This is the kind of thing a court would find highly compelling.

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

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