The COVID-19 pandemic was hard on everyone, married couples included. In early 2020, there were many predictions that lockdowns, quarantines, and stay-at-home orders would put so much stress on couples that divorces would skyrocket. While the statistics don’t necessarily support a significant spike in splits, many attorneys have noticed a different change: the divorces that do occur are nastier.
This is a tricky metric to track for obvious reasons. There is no national census of how confrontational divorcing people act toward each other. However, according to divorce specialists worldwide, the pandemic has made divorcing couples more likely to lash out during their splits.
In many ways, this makes more sense than a sudden spike in divorces. Many couples are genuinely happy together; presumably, these people worked through the stress of the pandemic without losing their relationships.
People whose marriages were shaky before the pandemic likely reacted in one of two ways. The additional stress of stay-at-home orders, constant health worries, and potential financial insecurity may have pushed some couples to rely on each other more heavily, making divorce less likely. For others, however, that extra stress and proximity is the perfect recipe for anger and arguments. As a result, the average number of overall divorces remained relatively stable, but the ones that occur are more heated and emotional.
It’s natural for alarming world events to make people more snappish and irritable. However, this kind of attitude benefits no one in a divorce. Adversarial divorces that involve arguments and court hearings are more time-consuming, stressful, and costly than amicable splits. Even if you have genuine grievances against your spouse, cooperating and keeping the process as professional as possible is in your best interest.
That’s easier said than done in some cases, but it’s still possible. Below, we offer six tips for reducing conflict in your divorce so you can move on with your life sooner rather than later.
1. Practice Professional Communication
If you or your spouse have decided it’s time to get a divorce, your relationship is over. You’re no longer romantic partners, and you shouldn’t feel obliged to talk to them daily. However, you can’t refuse to communicate since you still need to handle the legal aspects of ending your marriage.
The solution is to aim for professionalism. Now that your romantic relationship is over, you can treat your divorce like a business contract that you’re dissolving. Keep your communication professional, polite, and restricted to necessary information about your split. That helps reduce the opportunities for arguments and stress significantly.
2. Give Yourself Space
It’s one thing to say that professionalism is the best approach and another to actually commit to it. It’s natural to have strong emotions when ending a relationship you thought would last forever. However, your spouse is no longer responsible for your emotional well-being and vice versa. Continuing to spend significant time together trying to find closure is likely to just make you feel worse.
Give yourself space instead. Take time for yourself and minimize contact with your partner. Grieve your relationship or be angry at your spouse on your own instead of taking it out on them. The less time you spend directly interacting, the fewer chances there are for arguments to pop up, and the more likely you are to accomplish an amicable divorce.
3. Use Your Real-Life Support System
Hopefully, you have friends and family ready to support you during this difficult time. Don’t be afraid to talk to them about what you’re feeling. Whether you need to distract yourself, vent your anger, or receive some sympathy, your loved ones are there for you.
Avoid venting on social media or in other public spaces, though. Call, text, or meet up in person to discuss your feelings toward your spouse. Negative social media posts about your split are more likely to make it back to your spouse and make your divorce more adversarial than it needs to be.
4. Pick Your Battles
If you’re already upset with your partner, it may be tempting to make every aspect of your divorce into a battle. When you’re angry about how they treated you, you may be more likely to view a suggested compromise as an attack. However, that’s counterproductive and will only make your split take longer to resolve.
Setting your priorities and picking your battles can help avoid this issue. For example, if you know your top priority is receiving full ownership of your home, you can put your spouse’s request to keep the couch in perspective. If you’re prepared to compromise on the little things, you’ll have more energy to negotiate for the things that matter most to you.
5. Consider Mediation
Mediation may be the right solution if you want to avoid arguments in your divorce. In mediation, you and your spouse work with a trained mediator to negotiate your divorce settlement. The mediator is a neutral third party who can help keep your discussions on track and defuse arguments before they begin.
For couples who want to negotiate but need help resolving disputes, mediation is a great solution. Just note that it can only work if you’re genuinely prepared to compromise.
6. Choose the Right Attorney
The right attorney will make all the difference to your divorce. If you want to minimize conflict, you should work with a lawyer experienced in cooperative forms of divorce, such as mediation and negotiation. They will have the knowledge and skills to help you accomplish your goals and minimize the opportunities for arguments. If you’re interested in a non-adversarial divorce, you can consult with the experts at Regele Law, LLC. We have years of experience helping couples handle their divorces through negotiation and mediation. Schedule your consultation today to learn how we can support you during this difficult time.