Most people in the midst of a divorce are emotionally vulnerable. Unfortunately, sometimes that means arguments can get out of hand, and sometimes arguments that get out of hand can have an influence on the outcome of the divorce. And being around constant fighting is definitely not good for children: arguing parents can be very frightening and disturbing.
There are certain, predictable reactions to divorce everyone knows are bad ideas, but they seem to keep cropping up anyway. For example, a situation guaranteed to trigger nasty conflict during a divorce is one spouse bringing the new girlfriend or boyfriend to the family barbecue. If you want to avoid arguments, announcing that you have a new romance in your life is not the way to go about it. And it’s definitely not a great idea to go to Disney World with your kids and your new best friend.
But what if you’re doing everything right, and your angry spouse is determined to make every disagreement into an opportunity for conflict?
Keeping everything on a businesslike basis is your first line of defense. If you’re picking up the kids at your spouse’s house or your spouse is picking up the kids at your house, set very specific times and stick to them. Avoid discussions. If your spouse attempts to argue with you about the divorce, don’t fall for it.
Getting counseling is a good way of resolving issues without the emotional situation getting out of control. If your spouse is being really belligerent, you can have a relative with you when you pick the kids up or you can arrange to pick them up at a neutral public place.
It may seem you need to convince your spouse of your point of view, but it’s really best to leave the arguments to your lawyer. Your spouse may want to get a reaction from you because he or she is in considerable pain about the divorce, too. Keep in mind that things will get better, and that they’ll get better faster if hurtful and damaging arguments are avoided.
It’s impossible to get into an argument with someone who refuses to argue back. This requires a great deal of self control, but if you can do it, you and your children will be happier and you will give yourself the best possible opportunity to move on from your divorce quickly.