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How to Manage Conflict in Your Divorce

Divorce is difficult on everyone, even when the split is amiable. When things are less than friendly, the conflict can be almost too much to bear. Feelings, which are often too overwhelming to control, manifest in actions which are regrettable to say the least. The problem with these actions is that they can be damaging to your case – no matter who’s to blame. The best way to avoid this damage is to avoid the conflict. Here are a few ideas to help you maintain control during your divorce.


This is one area where the ostrich with its head in the sand had the right idea. If you don’t see each other and don’t ring each other, there can be no conflict. Save all your meetings for when both of you have counsel present.

Meet On Neutral Territory

If there are kids involved in a divorce, there is no way to avoid seeing one another. It simply must happen. Certain details of day-to-day life and schooling, as well as financial matters, make it impossible to avoid your soon to be ex-spouse. When it can’t be avoided and a conversation is required, try to meet one another out in public. The possibility of embarrassment or the creation of a ‘scene’ should be enough to deter any yelling matches.

Keep Meetings Brief

Those unavoidable meetings about the children or for any other reason that you might have to visit the home of your ex-spouse should be kept as short as possible. Call ahead before popping in and request that your ex do the same. Should she ignore you and come over too late or without notice, bite your lip, allow her to gather her belongings and leave as quickly as possible. At the next mediated meeting, bring up the incident as unacceptable and set concrete boundaries for future meetings:

(1) Call ahead.

(2) No later than a certain time and not before a certain time.

(3) Not during times of stress in a day, for example, while you are trying to prepare the kids for school in the morning.

In the case that these understandings have already been reached but consistently broken, legal actions may be broached as an option with counsel.

Stay On Topic

If you and your ex are meeting to discuss matters of the bills, children, or other issues of mutual involvement, don’t allow yourself to bring up the fact that your ex never walked the dog when it was he who wanted the collie in the first place. Should your ex-spouse decide to link his half of little Lindsay’s football uniform to his perception of your over-spending in the shoe department of Marks and Sparks— take the high ground. Don’t take the bait. It will be easier for everyone if you simply glide over the comment as if it weren’t spoken out loud.

And do your best to follow the same rule. The sooner you finish the conversation, the sooner you can move on with your life. No amount of accusations or argument will change the past or the fact that for the foreseeable future, the both of you must deal with certain issues together.

Contract a Mediator

If your attempts to set boundaries, keep conversations short, and meet only in public do not alleviate the surmounting difficulties between you and your ex-spouse, then agree to meet only in the presence of a mediator. All bill issues can be handled by mail, more immediate correspondence via email and, if absolutely necessary, phone. Any meetings should be conducted in the presence of a licensed mediator in order to keep things civil and stop either of you from making the situation worse than it is.

No matter how you decide to go about managing conflict in your divorce, any steps taken are better than none at all. The best you can do is control yourself and minimize situations that could be harmful to you. In the end, you are the best advocate for your own peace of mind; therefore, try to avoid stressful situations and make the best of every situation.

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