How to Deal with a Belligerent or Uncooperative Spouse During Divorce

Is your soon-to-be ex giving you trouble? Divorce is already challenging enough, but a belligerent spouse can make it even more of a struggle. Whether your spouse argues about the past, keeps dragging out simple issues, or even pits your kids against you, know that there are ways to get through it without kicking up a storm. Here’s how to keep your bitter divorce battles at a minimum.

1) Stay calm and focused.

No matter what your spouse throws at you, always keep a level head. Don’t get sucked into the arguments he or she may try to start. Sure, it’s bound to get difficult at certain points, but the important thing is you’re always making an effort to stay calm. Remember that your divorce isn’t about revenge, getting your dues, or proving the other person wrong—it’s about ending one stage of your life and moving on to another. Focus on that when things get rough.

2) Document everything.

Whether your spouse has a tendency to stretch the truth or you just want to prepare for any potential issues, make sure you document everything in writing. You should absolutely keep organized files on important issues like finances and your children. Make note of the time your spouse spends with the kids, conversations or email threads you share with him or her, and the money he or she withdraws from your joint accounts. If your case is clear and well-documented, even a fibbing spouse won’t be able to stand against it.

3) Keep your lawyer informed.

An attorney can be one of your best allies in a divorce, especially if you expect it to be high-conflict. Make sure you hire a lawyer you can consult when you have questions or concerns about something your spouse has said or done. With the right counsel, you’ll have a relatively neutral party in the presence of your spouse, making it easier to discuss your divorce issues. If things ever escalate to the point where you fear for your safety, a lawyer can make sure you and your children are protected.

4) Prioritize your children.

In all likelihood, your kids come first in every other aspect of your life—make sure that’s also the case in divorce. For one, this tip will help you stay cool when you feel a heated argument coming on. Studies have proven that children are better at adjusting to divorce when their parents get along. Avoid fighting in front of the kids, involving them in arguments, or using them to get back at your spouse in some way. Mentioning your kids may also be a better way to appeal to your spouse when you’re trying to diffuse a situation.

5) Get help if you need it.

If your situation involves abuse or domestic violence, or if you’re worried about your children’s safety, it’s important to know where you can find help. Speak with a lawyer to discuss the fast process of getting a restraining order. These court orders can prevent your spouse from coming near you and your children, entering your home, or doing other specific things that might cause problems. You may also want to look into any shelters or support programs in your area, and speak with your family for more help and support.

6)Think about therapy.

Maybe you think your spouse’s pettiness isn’t enough to warrant a seat on the therapist’s couch. No matter how big or small your problems may seem, divorce is always difficult. Therapy or counseling can help you step outside of the situation, vent your frustrations, and reflect on your feelings. It’s also an opportunity to get practical, professional tips for dealing with your spouse’s bad behavior.

No two divorces are ever the same, which is why it’s important to find a family lawyer who will take the time to understand your situation. Contact the law firm of Rotella & Hernandez to get trustworthy legal counsel throughout the course of your divorce. When things get difficult, we will do our best to reassure you with tailored advice and firm representation of your interests.

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