When you got married, you undoubtedly believed that you and your spouse would grow old together. With a divorce rate hovering around 50 percent in the United States, however, you are not alone if your marriage is headed for divorce. Knowing that you will need to navigate the legal system may be almost as scary as the prospect of ending your marriage. While there is no way to completely alleviate the stress and anxiety that generally accompanies the divorce process, keeping the animosity out of the process certainly helps. How do you prevent a contentious divorce though? A Tennessee divorce lawyer offers some suggestions on how to do that.
Why Does It Matter How Contentious Your Divorce Is?
For most people, the end of a marriage is a time filled with heightened emotions. It is certainly understandable that your emotional state will impact the divorce process; however, when anger dominates the divorce process it typically makes the entire process take longer and cost more. Numerous decisions must be made during a divorce, including how to divide the marital debts and assets and how to handle the care and maintenance of minor children post-divorce. Making those decisions is difficult enough before adding in an adversarial attitude. If you and your spouse are guided by anger, making those decisions will be even harder.
When the parties to a divorce are both too angry to negotiate or compromise, nothing gets accomplished. Worse still, when a party is too angry, decisions can be guided by a desire to hurt the other party instead of by practical considerations. One spouse may refuse to give up the marital residence, for example, even though the home is way too big and expensive for him/her to maintain. Decisions relating to the minor children could escalate to a full-blown custody battle as a result of the parents’ contentious attitudes. Ultimately, your divorce will take longer, cost more, and may emotionally scar your children if you allow negative emotions to dictate the divorce process.
Preventing a Contentious Divorce
It can be very difficult to prevent a divorce from being adversarial when emotions are running high; however, there are some things you can do to try and keep things as civil as possible, including:
- Give yourself timeouts. From the very beginning of the divorce process through to the end, give yourself mandatory timeouts when your emotions start to get the better of you. Take a physical and mental step back and focus on something else until you feel you are capable of thinking clearly and objectively again.
- Look at things from your child’s point of view. If you have a child(ren), remember that everything that happens during the divorce affects your child. Try and think about things from your child’s point of view and look at the process through your child’s eyes. Doing so may help you to recognize when things are escalating to a dangerous level.
- Let your attorney handle communication. Hiring an experienced divorce attorney is the most important step you can take during any divorce, but particularly during a contentious divorce. Let your attorney be your voice throughout the process. You really should not need to communicate directly with your spouse about the divorce once you have an attorney. Your attorney can communicate for you and negotiate the terms of the divorce on your behalf. Think of your attorney as your “buffer.”
- Prioritize your goals. Be realistic when negotiating terms. Neither party to a divorce will get everything he/she wants. You will need to compromise, if not give in, on some issues. Decide in the beginning what are the most important issues or goals for you and let your attorney know. By doing so, your attorney knows when to acquiesce and when to stand firm.
Contact a Tennessee Divorce Lawyer
If you are contemplating divorce in the State of Tennessee, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.