Ending a marriage is stressful under the best of conditions where both parties are parting amicably. But a contentious or high-conflict divorce can exhaust both your finances and your emotional well-being. It is always best when a divorce can be settled without litigation. Litigation is costly for both sides and prolongs the entire process. Whatever monetary advantage or asset you or your spouse think you will gain by fighting in court is often lost in legal fees. A divorce should only be settled in court after all attempts at mediation have failed.
Take Emotion Out of the Equation
When dealing with a contentious divorce, emotions need to be set aside as they fan the flames of existing problems. It is important to make a list of your goals for the divorce and stay focused on them so that when issues arise, you cannot be pulled into trivial fights. For instance, one goal might be establishing a fair parenting plan that takes both parties’ schedules into account. Another goal may be a quick resolution of the divorce to avoid escalating costs. When the process reaches a difficult and stressful point, refer to your list to remind yourself of your goals and reserve your energy for achieving them.
Remove Yourself from the Stress
Avoid letting the divorce become all-consuming. Just because you are getting a divorce does not mean you have to be available for constant communication. Set aside time for yourself that is divorce-free. This can be a time when you do not answer calls, texts, or read your emails. Use your divorce-free time to clear your head and find calm during this turbulent time in your life. You may want to meditate or exercise to help you stay centered and grounded.
When Divorce Turns Toxic
Certain divorces go beyond contentious to truly toxic. In a toxic divorce, an ex-spouse refuses to cooperate and acts only out of spite or malice. Hiding marital assets, turning the children against the other spouse, bullying, harassment, and stalking are all examples of toxic behavior.
If you are ending a toxic relationship, it is crucial to seek the help of an attorney with experience in high-conflict divorces, as your ex-spouse will likely carry this behavior into your post-divorce life. Highly detailed and specifically written divorce decrees can lay out exact boundaries of acceptable behavior, especially if children are involved. Language that would not be problematic in other divorces may be too vague in a toxic divorce. You may also want to consider using a court appointed judge for your case who can monitor the situation over time and step in to mitigate contentious behavior.
Should your divorce ever escalate to threats of physical violence, a protective order should be obtained to secure your safety. Violation of a protective order can result in jail time. A contentious divorce can be consuming unless you consciously try to limit your emotional response to every issue and focus instead on your desired outcome.
West Chester, PA Divorce Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Help Clients Navigate Through a Contentious Divorce
The dedicated West Chester divorce lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. can help you through this difficult time. Call 610-565-3701 to schedule a free and confidential consultation or contact us online. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Delaware County, Chester County, Montgomery County, and throughout southeastern Pennsylvania.