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Apr 22, 2013

Divorce + Anger = More Money

Divorce and General Articles

There are some very decent attorneys who handle divorce litigation clients.  There are also some very greedy divorce attorneys who exploit their clients at every opportunity.  In either case, the more anger their client has, the more money their attorney will make.  Of course, the fees for the greedy attorney are going to be much higher; leaving the client with no assets and a huge attorney bill to cover the attorney’s car payment.

Anger is a normal part of the divorce experience.  When I was going through my divorce many years ago, I found myself carrying around a fair bit of anger.  This was not a normal part of my character so I was not accustomed to dealing with it.  Some of the anger was targeted at my “ex” but it seemed to spill out beyond that into my everyday living.  I remember one angry encounter with a local official that left him visibly shaken and giving into to my demands just to get me out of his office.  Although I achieved my immediate goal, it left him with a bitter resentment that haunted both of us for years.

In my divorce mediation practice I have worked with many people who were extremely angry at their spouse and their situation.  My job is to get them past their anger and shift their focus toward building a positive future for themselves and their children.  It is not an easy task but anger can be conquered and replaced with wisdom.

I had the good fortune to meet a therapist who has helped many men, women and children make the shift from negative emotions into positive ones. Susan McConnell, M.A. sees clients in her office located in Wayne, Montgomery County, PA.  She a deep understanding of divorce and the challenges it brings.  She has a wealth of experience and can help each family member navigate through divorce.

Susan recently sent me an excellent article she wrote on the topic of anger during divorce that I would like to share with you:

Navigating Anger During Divorce

It is virtually impossible to navigate through divorce without experiencing some degree of anger.  Oftentimes both parties experience a range of highly charged negative emotions as they experience resentment, abandonment, disillusionment, sadness, loneliness, guilt, and fear. Anger is a powerful emotion that requires a great deal of energy, adrenaline and resources. In my experience in working with couples and families, anger is often an overriding emotional for both the initiator the non  initiator. However, oftentimes, one may be consumed by their feelings of anger to such an extent that they become stuck and unable to move forward. in addition, anger can usurp all of one’s emotional resources leaving him/her feel depleted and unable to take action and direct their energy in a productive way.

Avoid the Anger Trap

Anger, left unchecked can be consuming and often results in a  lengthier, and more acrimonious divorce process.   A spouse who is driven by anger often can misdirect their energy to emotional retaliation as they are motivated to inflict pain rather than achieve a healthy resolution.  It is therefore important to  manage one’s anger before embarking on the legal aspects of divorce. One must begin to emotionally divorce from their spouse before beginning the legal journey. The raw emotions associated with divorce, including anger, can fuel and misdirect the legal process. This can result in more time, money, angst, emotional upheaval for adults and children. The law does not consider fault in the case of divorce. One should not invest energy into trying to prove or establish who is to blame or on emotional retaliation. Anger can sabotage our ability to make reasonable, sound decisions for ourselves and our children. A spouse may be so consumed by anger and the need to inflict pain that they may manipulate custody arrangements, financial support or distribution of assets.

SOS: How to Manage Anger During Divorce:

1. Do an anger inventory Is your anger consuming, in a way that is destructive and prevents you from moving forward? Is your rage causing you to feel compelled to inflict the same emotional pain on your spouse rather than focusing your energy and attention on yourself and the divorce process?

2. Accept the inevitable- Anger is a natural emotional response to feelings associated with divorce. therefore one will have a need to vent express anger in healthy way. This involves communicating feelings directly to therapist, friends and family. Oftentimes well meaning friends devalue/minimize anguish of divorce in their attempt to quell anger. Letting go of anger and rage truly helps in the process of moving forward. This is a crucial step towards healing. It is important to recognize when the anger is consuming and interferes with our ability to make sensible decision. Give yourself permission to focus on your needs and nurture yourself. This will help you to move beyond feelings of anger and move forward in the healing process.

3. Channel anger into taking action- Action during divorce may involve determining a parenting plan, finding support for yourself, getting your financial house in order and making decisions. In addition, channel anger away from retaliating at your spouse and direct it to yourself in the form of work, exercise, nutrition and making healthy connections.

By managing anger during the divorce process, we can move towards acceptance. It is possible to regain a sense of control and emotional stability as we adjust to a new chapter and look towards the future.

Susan McConnell, M.A., is a psychotherapist who specializes in working with children, adolescents and adults who have experienced depression, anxiety, and relationship and family adjustments. In addition, Susan provides individual and group counseling for people who are coping with weight management issues like obesity and overeating. Her approach focuses on behavioral treatment for weight management, helping people to modify eating, activity, and thinking habits that contribute to weight problems. Susan’s approach to weight management recognizes that overeating is often a response to anxiety, stress, depression, or boredom, in addition to hunger.


Keila M. Gilbert, Attorney-Mediator, founded Alpha Center for Divorce Mediation 18 years ago.  Alpha Center has helped over 5000 clients lower the cost, time and stress of their divorce.

If you have questions or concerns about divorce mediation in Doylestown, Newtown, Plymouth Meeting, King of Prussia, Bucks County, Montgomery County or Chester County, please contact Alpha Center for Divorce Mediation at 1800-310-9085.