When couples get married, they do not plan or intend on getting a divorce. Unfortunately, a high percentage of couples discover that there is a conflict of personalities between them that they cannot reconcile, or maybe alcoholism, drug addiction, adultery, mental illness, or a combination thereof, exists and they need to end their marriage. This initial realism can cause a lot stress, anger, distrust, and apprehensiveness. All of these things can easily interject conflict into the divorce process. The higher the conflict, the longer the process and the more expensive your divorce will be. In the end neither party will be happy with the outcome.
In order to preserve your mental and emotional health, physical health, and financial stability after your divorce, try to remove or minimize conflict in the divorce process. This may be easier said than done when there are mental disorders, alcoholism, and/or drug addiction involved. There are some basic things that you can do to try to minimize conflict:
1. Speak to an attorney to learn your rights and responsibilities. If you do not understand what your rights, obligations, and what a judge is likely to order in your jurisdiction, you will be apprehensive, may have unrealistic expectations, worry what your spouse will do with your kids and property, and your spouse may even exploit your ignorance of the law. All of these things will add conflict to the divorce process.
2. Listen to your professionals (i.e. lawyer, counselor, psychologist, social worker, etc.). Your divorce case is unique and there are always two sides to the story. Friends and third parties like to tell their “horror stories” and advise you based off their experiences. However, those persons are not apt to disclose all of the true facts in their case and they certainly do not know all of the facts in your divorce. Just utilize and enjoy their general support and friendship to help you through this difficult time.
3. If you want to discuss the terms of your divorce settlement with your spouse, do so at a neutral location and refrain from alcohol consumption. If you hold meetings in the marital family room drinking wine, your comfort level and solitude may lead to arguments, outbursts, and possibly physical violence.
4. Do not intentionally push your spouse’s buttons. You know what to say to get into a fight, and you know what not to say to avoid a fight. What happens if you enter a bar at 1 a.m. and ask a patron “What are you looking at?”.
Understand the big picture. If you do not have any children, why add conflict to the process? Through open disclosure and discovery, and peaceful negotiations, you can swiftly divide the marital estate. Then you never have to deal with your spouse again. If you have children, you will need to communicate and interact with your spouse for the rest of your children’s lives. There will be birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, graduations, religious ceremonies, weddings, baby showers, and more. By maintaining a civil divorce, it will preserve your relationship with your spouse and family. It will also show your children that you both can act like mature adults even though your marriage together may have been a mistake. Keeping this mindset will help you avoid conflicts that may damage your relationships.