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Navigating a Contentious Divorce

Posted on July 14, 2023

Divorce often brings out the worst in people, and spouses can become bitter, angry, and resentful toward one another, with the legal process becoming combative. Agreeing on important issues such as asset division, custody, support, and maintenance support or alimony are heatedly contested. When spouses choose to lash out at each other to wound or as a form of punishment, the divorce is termed contentious.

Maneuvering a New York divorce filled with contention requires looking past the current situation to the goal ahead. Every divorce is unique and complicated in its way.

Good Communication Can Happen With Help

Divorces often occur because of a lack of communication. When poor communication exists during a marriage, adopting the habit while divorcing is challenging. Conversations often become heated and angry. The divorce process is rife with strong emotions.

The conversation is not about blame and responsibility at this point in marriage but reconciling that divorce is inevitable. Having someone who can express your wishes by acting as a spokesperson can remove the emotional exchange. Couples get nowhere when they refuse to listen to each other, so requests are often more readily accepted with a respectful approach.

Negotiating is not the Same as Giving Up

Flexibility and the willingness to compromise do not mean you’re caving to your spouse’s demands. You will have requests that you feel are non-negotiables too. But negotiating will bring the contentious dialogue down and allow you and your spouse to have a say in determining the terms of your divorce.

Without the ability to focus on the targeted objective, you lose the ability to participate in important decisions, allowing the courts to determine your future under the law. Ultimately, neither of you may be completely satisfied, but you gain some satisfaction when you can influence the outcome.

Change Your Focus

In any hurtful situation, it can be easy to slip into a pattern of languishing in the past, marinating in hurt. These actions only keep a person trapped in a vicious cycle of pain, anger, and lashing out, rarely leading to a peaceful conclusion. The focus at this point in a relationship is not reconciliation but resolution.

Begin to envision the process as resolved and what that brings into your life. To get to that future point, allowing the present to remain as peaceful as possible is imperative. The longer the contention lasts, the more prolonged and costly it will likely be to get to the other side of divorce.

Respond by Listening

Very often, people only want to be heard. It will take effort and practice, but acquiring the ability to listen without thoughtlessly responding is a priceless tool. What does this look like in your divorce? There are many options, and a few are listed below.

  • Count to ten, and then count to ten again. The act of counting changes your focus to the numerical sequence instead of formulating a response.
  • Respond with, “I hear what you’re saying.”
  • Ask for a restroom break when listening becomes too much of a challenge.
  • Take deep breaths

Find an Ally

Making it through the divorce process with an ally by your side, fighting for you, allows you to take a step back and feel confident knowing that an experienced New York divorce attorney is advocating for your best interests.

To learn more about navigating a contentious divorce, contact the Law Office of Vivien I. Stark, P.C., and know your needs are a priority.

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