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Handling emotions: Dealing with a contentious divorce

No one wants to think about divorcing when they get married, but the reality is that many marriages will end in divorce. Time sometimes changes people, and that can mean that you end up facing a frustrating, contentious divorce.

It's always in a couple's better interests to be civil to one another during a divorce. Not being civil can cause a divorce to drag on for months or years longer than necessary. Being unwilling to negotiate is another factor that slows down property division and can strain your relationship with your children or others in your family.

How can you deal with your emotions during a contentious divorce?

The first thing to do is to recognize that there are some people who will always try to create drama or problems in a relationship. The important thing is to make sure you rise above that. Be the better person and be willing to negotiate with your spouse. Being willing to work with the other party doesn't mean you're going to give in, but it does mean that you'll recognize an appropriate settlement or arrangement when it is presented to you.

The good thing about being the more reasonable person in a divorce is that the judge and court will recognize that behavior and view you in a positive way. No court will look kindly on a person who drags out a divorce over one or two negligible assets or because of a grudge. Judges loathe cases where one party constantly interrupts or is vindictive toward the other.

The wisest thing you can do is to find a way to approach your divorce calmly, even when the other person doesn't. Acting in a mature, civil manner will be in your favor.

What can you do to make a contentious divorce easier?

One option is to secure a court-appointed judge. Having a judge who is familiar with your case will help, since he or she gets to know you and your spouse, along with the details of your case, over time. He or she will be more likely to understand which party is causing trouble and be familiar with what each of you needs to resolve the case as effectively as possible.

Divorces don't have to be contentious, but when they are, attorneys and judges need to do their best to help their clients resolve the cases. A judge will make all the decisions for your case if you and your spouse can't agree, so you must prepare to seek what you want from your divorce.

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