Few life events are as notorious for causing conflict as divorce. Not every single split devolves into an epic screaming match, but most aren’t entirely calm.
Emotions run high and tempers flare, but that’s no reason to lose control. Below are some tips to help avoid conflict during and after your divorce.
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It’s hard for two people to fight if there’s no contact between them. However, this is often unavoidable. As your divorce likely involves negotiations, that requires some interaction, but there are steps to take to limit the amount.
You can communicate via an intermediary, perhaps through your respective attorneys or a parenting app. During mediation, you and your spouse can even be in different rooms with the mediator acting as a go-between.
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Stay Off Social Media
This is a relatively new concern. Social media wasn’t an issue even a few years ago. With many people sharing their life details on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms, some make the mistake of posting divorce details. You don’t have to stay off of social media completely, but don’t air your dirty laundry in a public forum either. It can be more of a headache than it’s worth.
Nothing stays quiet for long on social media.
If you have mutual friends or your ex’s family members in your network, the word may get around. Think about what you post and the conflict it may cause. Simply put, it’s best you don’t mention your spouse or the divorce at all. Stick to the cute kitten memes and sports rants.
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Focus On Yourself
You can’t control what your spouse does, but you can control yourself. Try to focus on what you can change, not what you can’t. Instead of dwelling on the past, on any old wounds and preexisting quarrels, look toward the future. Focusing on yourself will only help you move forward with your life.
Plan what you’re going to do after you finalize the divorce. Consider the new opportunities available to you now. This may also be the perfect time to start taking care of yourself emotionally.
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And certainly don’t overreact.
In many cases, your soon-to-be-ex may try to pick a fight or get a rise out of you. Don’t stoop to that level. You may want to scream and yell and throw things. After all, who knows how to get under your skin and push all of your buttons better than your ex? But it’s not likely to help anything.
If you have kids, consider their feelings. When certain topics set off fights, avoid them if at all possible. Things might get so bad you have to have your attorney handle the communication. But that may be for the best.
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Make Custody Exchanges Easier
When kids are involved, your ex remains a part of your life. That’s just a fact, they’re going to be around. Custody exchanges are prime time for conflict, but there are ways to smooth over any rough patches.
Make sure to pack everything the kids need beforehand and have them ready to go. This limits the amount of face-time between parents. You can use school, daycare, or a babysitter to make the swaps and rarely have to see one another.
Make the custody exchange in a public place, or in front of a third party. This often decreases the likelihood of conflict significantly.
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Live By The Divorce Agreement
Whether you and your ex come to the divorce agreement on your own, through mediation, or a judge hands it down, abide by the specifics of that decree.
If you agreed to pay child or spousal support, pay it. The same goes if you were ordered to cover certain shared debts. It simplifies your life and cuts down on the friction if you accept and live by the terms.
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Find Common Ground
Few things can smooth over conflict like common ground and shared interests. If you have children, this offers the perfect platform. Focus on them and put their wellbeing and security ahead of your own.
A contentious split can be exhausting, demanding, and emotionally draining.
Avoiding conflict during and after divorce may not be easy. You may never get rid of it completely. It’s usually a process that takes work.
A contentious split can be exhausting, demanding, and emotionally draining. For everyone.
Most likely the situation won’t improve overnight. Be consistent and realistic about what you need and where you want to go. Refuse to engage. Take steps to skirt discord when you can. Do this and hopefully, you can circumvent trouble before it starts.
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Editor’s Note: This is an updated version of an earlier post and has been revamped for accuracy and comprehensiveness.