While you may have hoped for a civilized ending to your marriage, the divorce process can bring out a number of toxic feelings that can quickly hijack your hopes for an amicable parting. If your spouse has a penchant for drama or thrives on conflict, chances are that you will need to take some necessary steps to protect yourself from the fallout.
Here are five smart legal moves that will help you detox your divorce and protect your future:
- Put everything in writing.
In a high-conflict divorce, communicating with your spouse only in writing can not only protect you from unpleasant verbal sparring matches, it can also serve as a record that can be turned into evidence if necessary. It is also important that any temporary agreements regarding support or custody be in writing so both parties understand the rules.
- Get financial paperwork before you file.
If you are dealing with an angry spouse, he or she may be tempted to hide financial information from you once the divorce action has been filed. So before you file, be sure you gather as much financial information as possible on your own. If you are not already familiar with your finances as a couple, run a credit check to turn up accounts in both your names. The IRS can also provide you with a copy of your tax returns if you file jointly.
- Protect children from conflict.
An unreasonable spouse can make your children unwitting combatants in your divorce, so every effort should be made to cut this off. Conduct custody changes in public places to make it less likely for an argument to break out. Family therapy may also be helpful; if your spouse won’t go, you should go with your children. Keep a daily journal of your parenting activities, so if you are accused of being a neglectful or abusive parent, you have something to help disprove this accusation.
- Consider a restraining order.
If things get really out of hand — if you are being threatened or harassed — that’s the time to consider getting a temporary restraining order against your spouse to help keep yourself and your children safe. Both men and women can file for a restraining order.
- Consider mediation.
Even high-conflict divorces can be resolved through mediation, which is often less costly and less stressful than litigation. Talk to your attorney about finding a mediator experienced in high conflict divorces. He or she will be able to help you stick with a structured agenda and even meet with each of you separately to cut down on face-to-face interactions.
You can rely on Cistaro Law to skillfully negotiate and mediate your issues to a satisfactory resolution. Should the need arise, you can also count on our experience for being aggressive litigators if the situation calls for a more assertive response. Contact us today for your free consultation.