Any divorce professional will tell you that it is beneficial to have an amicable divorce. You save money by having quicker negotiations and feel better about the process after it is over. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that you will have an amicable divorce because you are only half of the equation. There is little that you can do to change the behavior of a spouse who is hostile towards you from the start of the divorce. Though your divorce will not be amicable, you can still try to make the best of the situations by controlling your own behavior.
Recognizing a High-Conflict Divorce
High-conflict divorce is often characterized by constant combativeness that prevents you from having reasonable discussions with your spouse. The combative spouse could be outwardly angry or silent and uncooperative. People in a high-conflict divorce often:
- Get into arguments over basic issues
- View negotiations as all-or-nothing
- Resort to personal attacks
- Seem to focus as much on punishing their spouse as benefiting themselves
The stress of divorce can cause people to behave in unusual ways, such as being more emotional and defensive. Some people have pre-existing personality disorders that are worsened by divorce. If you are struggling with feelings of anger and hostility during your divorce, visiting a mental health professional or support group may help.
How to Respond
It is not important to understand why your spouse is behaving combatively. Instead, you should focus on healthy ways to respond to your high-conflict divorce:
- Do not engage your spouse in arguments about topics that are unrelated to divorce negotiations, such as your relationship and personal lives.
- Do not feel that you need to respond to every emotional outburst.
- If you do respond, use a calm voice and stay focused on the work you need to complete.
- If your spouse tries to bully you, be firm in defending yourself without escalating the situation.
- Do not be afraid to end the negotiation session if your spouse’s behavior is out of control or you are struggling to maintain your composure.
- Remember that your spouse is dealing with the same stress and worries that you are.
Contact a St. Charles, Illinois, Divorce Lawyer
Dealing with a high-conflict divorce takes a careful balance of standing up for yourself while not allowing your spouse to provoke you. A Kane County divorce attorney at Goostree Law Group can guide you through difficult divorce negotiations and advise you when you may need to take the issue to court. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-584-4800.