Sep 29, 2022
How to Have a Civil Divorce
It is that time of year when life gets to be a bit crazy. Summer is now over, and back-to-school is in full swing. If that is not enough, it is getting darker earlier too! All of these little stressors can certainly add up and make our already short fuses even shorter. What happens to those people who are going through a divorce during this and other stressful times?
This blog will be short, sweet, and to the point. It will provide some tips on how to navigate through a divorce in the most civilized and decent manner. Oh, and if you have children, definitely read up as this will be extra important for you. I am sure that as you read this, you will be saying to yourself, “Yeah, right I already know this”. That is terrific. It is probably true, until you are in the throes of a divorce.
Christine Lombardo-Zaun, Esq., an attorney-mediator at Alpha Center for Divorce Mediation, provides some tips on how to navigate through a divorce in the most civilized and decent manner.
1. Pick your battles. Just because you are getting divorced does not mean you must fight over everything. Some things, like a $20 wall hanging simply are not worth it. I had a client who had an ex-spouse take their luggage after they loaned it to their child to use. The ex-spouse decided to keep it because he wanted it. Is this something to go to court over? No. Go out and buy new luggage.
2. Let the past stay in the past. I have witnessed clients who are emotionally charged bringing up the past. I understand it shapes who we are today. However, it really does not have any room at the negotiation table. If you must revisit your past, journal quietly, and try to move forward.
3. Keep communication with the soon-to-be ex or ex at a bare minimum, if at all. If you must communicate, do it in writing and keep it professional. This is challenging if you have an ex who likes to curse. Do not lower yourself to that level. Compartmentalize and either stop communicating or take some time to cool off (and for them to cool off) and revisit at a later time.
4. Do not disparage the other person. This is a tough one to chew on, and absorb, but it is true. Ask yourself, what is the purpose? Ok, it makes you feel better but what benefit do you get? This is especially important if you have children. They will see everything. That ex-spouse is your child’s parent. You chose them at one time, so watch what you say.
5. Take the high road. Make choices that make you proud as a person. Show grace and kindness, even when others are not reciprocating. Remember, Karma exists! It has been said, “what goes around, comes around.”
As you can see, none of these are earth-shattering tips, but they are valuable, and I do believe they will serve as a good reminder for those who fall into the traps (which are easy to do) and lose their civil way.
Alpha Center for Divorce Mediation