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Tips for coping with a high-conflict divorce

Divorce can be one of the most difficult challenges that any of us ever face. This is especially true if the spouse intentionally or unintentionally makes matters worse with their actions. Perhaps this behavior was the cause of the marriage’s demise, or maybe it's new. Either way, marriage experts and therapists agree that it’s crucial to take steps to protect yourself and your well-being during this unnecessarily difficult process.

7 issues to consider

Some of these involve actions while others require a shift in the mindset:

  1. Develop healthy coping skills: Drinking too much alcohol, overeating or withdrawing from friends and family may seem like short term solutions until the divorce is over, but healthier stress relievers like exercise and plenty of sleep serve you better in the long-run.
  2. Minimize contact: There may be no reasoning with them, so minimize contact and avoid the kind of confrontation they thrive on.
  3. Dont co-parent: To follow up on the above point, set firm boundaries, and have a clear parallel parenting plan that minimizes contact with the spouse. Try to keep all communication via text, email or writing.
  4. Its not about you: This is their issue, and it is likely tied to a lack of control or fear of the unknown. The more afraid they are, the angrier they get.
  5. Dont be passive: The process is a slow one, but don’t allow them to drag it out. Also, keep things moving by being well-prepared and providing relevant information to a judge in a timely fashion.
  6. Respond instead of react: Time is of the essence, but be measured and thoughtful with responses instead of having an emotional response.
  7. Be realistic: Avoid unrealistic expectations and be prepared for the worst.

Protect what is important

High-conflict divorce can seem akin to crisis management, at least in the eyes of an ex-spouse. It is better and healthier to focus on the priorities, such as the well-being of you and the children. This attitude and working with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney can help you meet your goals even as you navigate those bumps in the road that takes you there.

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