All divorces have on common element: a spouse on the other side. Starting a divorce can change the dynamics between you and your spouse, sometimes in a good way other times in a negative way. Here are some tips for dealing with your spouse and children during a divorce.
What should I tell the children about the divorce?
Usually as little as possible. Divorce is an adult problem. Do not make it your children’s problem. You should take great care not to alienate the children from the other parent either by what you tell the children, or what they sense about your feelings.
How should we tell the children about a divorce?
There is a better way to do this and a worse way. Ideally, the divorcing couple sits down and has the discussion together. There are many resources on how to have this discussion. If there has been marital counseling, it is often well to have this discussion with the (former) marital counselor.
Isn’t it important for me to get as many of our friends on my side as possible?
No, although this is frequently done. Your friends cannot help you with the divorce, unless they can testify to some specific and pertinent facts. So-called character witnesses are virtually never used in a divorce.
How should I act toward my spouse?
With all the politeness you can. Try to avoid an escalation of hostilities. This makes the divorce painful and more expensive.
My spouse says he will be fair in the settlement. How shall I handle this?
You may listen to him, but don’t necessarily believe this. Sometimes, the term “fair” may means, “if you accept my terms it will be a nice and easy divorce.” In that case, you will probably be selling yourself very short if you accept his terms.
What should I do when my spouse attempts to provoke an argument or physical confrontation?
Walk away. In some cases a spouse is desperate to have you evicted from the house and so she will attempt to provoke you so she has grounds for an order of protection under the Domestic Violence Act.
Why does my spouse say bad things about my lawyer?
Usually it is because your spouse, during the marriage, felt he was in control, but he sees himself losing control of you during the divorce, and blames it on the lawyer. Your spouse is trying to undermine your lawyer’s advice to you.
My spouse and I have worked out an agreement and he wrote it down and asked me to sign. Shall I sign it?
No. Consult with your lawyer.
How can I avoid confrontations with my spouse?
Use your lawyer as a buffer. Tell your spouse you will take up the problem with your lawyer and your lawyer will take up the problem with her lawyer.