Divorce is a trying time, both mentally and emotionally. It can become even harder if you have a particularly difficult ex who is fighting tooth and nail, lashing out, or even just making communication impossible. Even though you're frustrated, it's highly recommended you keep a level head and don't play into your ex's petty game. The staff at Brian D. Perskin & Associates have represented a number of clients who's ex-spouse has made the divorce process harder than it needs to be. Here is a list of steps you can take to try to ease the stress, tension and headaches that your former spouse is creating:
1. Do not let your spouse know that they are pushing your buttons.
Your ex knows you very well, and they know exactly what to say or do to make you tick. By ignoring your spouse's immature behavior, you are refusing to add fuel to an unnecessary fire. If something your ex says really gets under your skin, ignore it. Discuss it with a friend, family member or your attorney and give yourself time to cool off. Do not respond to your former spouse unless it is absolutely necessary, and only after you have had an adequate amount of time to calm down.
2. Develop a communication timetable.
Either working with your spouse, or through your attorneys, create guidelines for when, or how, communication is to take place. This is especially helpful for couples with children. For instance, parties can only communicate via private e-mail or text message between the hours of 9:00 AM and 7:00 PM, unless there is an emergency. Such emergencies can include medical issues with children, a change in scheduled visits, etc.
3. Streamline all communication.
Keep communication factual and to the point and, if possible, make sure said communication is in writing. You will be able to submit portions of conversations into evidence or attach them to motions to further support your argument in court. It is important to note that cell phone carriers tend to only keep records of text messages for a few days, so if you think a conversation will be pertinent, save it as a screen shot and forward it to your lawyer.
4. Shield your children from tension.
Because of the shared children, divorced couples are still bound together for life. Eventually, you will need to be at the same event as your spouse. Regardless of your children's age, you should keep their best interest in mind and not argue or engage negatively with your ex. If need be, politely acknowledge your former spouse's presence and that's it. Do not feel obligated to converse or interact with them if there is tension between you two. Furthermore, by sticking to an agreed upon visitation schedule (including pick up and drop off locations and times), you can help to keep any instances for headache inducing interactions at bay.
5. Practice effective self-control.
Learning how to control your emotions towards a difficult ex-spouse is crucial to the divorce process. By being self-aware and recognizing the warning signs of a tension fueled feud, you will be able to successfully dodge any arguments. This will significantly reduce the amount of stress you feel throughout the divorce process, as well as potentially lead to lower bills for legal fees.
Taking the high road and refusing to succumb to your ex's immature behavior and tactics is one of the best approaches you can take during a divorce (besides hiring the right matrimonial attorney!). You need to look after your family's best interest during this life changing time, and that can only be done if you know to handle a difficult spouse. Utilize some of the tips above, or find out what other methods work best for you, and you'll learn how to properly deal with your combative ex.