The emotions in divorce are intense; so much so, the people in the middle of divorce are not themselves. The friends and family of people that are divorcing get pulled into the dissolution and even their emotions are affected. Some friends divorce their friends for going through a divorce, others stop communication altogether and if the divorcing parties are lucky, there will be a handful of people in their lives that stick by them to listen; because they are loyal friends with emotional intelligence. Emotions in a divorce are far more intense than emotions during an unhappy marriage. If a person has a challenging time with their emotions (this can be described as: difficulty expressing emotions verbally or physically, avoids emotional encounters, has sudden outbursts, acts passive aggressively, etc.) they are going to have a rude awakening and a hefty attorney bill if they find themselves in the middle of a divorce. Here are some suggestions on how to navigate the emotional divorce jungle.
Whatever you do, only communicate necessary information. Often, spouses and sneaky attorneys will use communication with the opposing party to manipulate them before a hearing date. Manipulation before a hearing is multipurpose. The attorney wants fodder, because this gives the attorney more hours to accumulate and the spouse willing to manipulate wants a leg up for control. FYI, if one spouse antagonizes another, the court does not step in. If one spouse manipulates the other spouse, the court does not step in. If one spouse threatens the other spouse with conditions, if you don’t do this I won’t do that, the court does not step in. If one spouse, harms the children according to the children, the court does not step in. If one spouse displays, irregular forms of communication, constantly contradicts themselves and admits general guilt to something heinous, the court does not step in. If one spouse violates a court order, amazingly the court only steps in on rare occasions even if you file a motion or ex parte. These scenarios are all possible. Are you scared yet? How does this happen you ask? It happens because no one is holding the system accountable. Only communicate necessary information, because anything more puts fuel on the fire and no one in the judicial system cares if you or your children have been injured unless a crime has been committed.
Whatever you do, turn your hot buttons off. Your spouse knows which buttons to push, when to push them, the frequency they need to be pushed and how hard they should be pushed. Rewire your brain so those stimuli have zero impact on your response. This is extremely difficult when divorce is new; because you are adjusting to new circumstances, but the sooner you shut the hot button circuit off the better off you’ll be. This is especially important if you have children and you’re the custodial parent. Divorce is the worst on children. Be sure you’re dialed in to your children’s emotions. If you don’t turn your hot buttons off, your children will get the brunt of your emotional response that’s meant for your estranged spouse. DO NOT let your estranged spouse have that much control! Be in charge, 100% of the time for you and your children. Setup boundaries in your new divorce relationship to protect your sanity, keep your emotional well-being in tact and to stay in the present. Turning off your hot buttons is critical to minimizing collateral damage.
Whatever you do, complete as much paperwork as you can outside of court. Every hearing you have creates stress. Every hearing costs money whether you have an attorney or not. Every dollar that you or your spouse pays is a dollar less for the children if you have children and there is always a chance either spouse can request the court to order the other spouse pay while your case is open. All promises that are not submitted to court and filed with the court are fly-by-night promises; so no matter what, make sure all signatures on a decision are filed with the court. Time is valuable, court is as fun as the DMV, don’t waste those precious hours. If you have an attorney, have them negotiate for you outside of court or try mediation for better cooperation and communication. If your spouse is compliant and respectful, try negotiating with your spouse directly (with any outside party, there is a price-tag attached). Most of all make it a priority to come to a decision, make concessions, make reasonable suggestions and get your division of assets wrapped up as soon as possible especially if you have children. Don’t let the legal paperwork or family law forms be a burden, get it done outside of court.
Everyone needs to care about their neighbor’s, their friend’s, their family’s quality of life, any person can be touched by divorce directly or indirectly. If you are considering divorce, going through a divorce or know someone who’s going through a divorce help them understand how to navigate the emotional jungle. Divorce is one of the most difficult circumstances people deal with in life and people should not have to do it alone. If you’re going through a divorce or know someone who is; keep these emotional strategies top of mind: communicate only necessary information, turn your hot buttons off and complete paperwork outside of court. The emotional divorce jungle is filled with booby traps, predators and acts of God; be prepared and stay alert.