Avoiding an acrimonious divorce is not always possible if one spouse is especially bitter. Learn how to work through this here.

Shock, denial, anger, and sadness are a few of the emotions partners may experience during a divorce. Children also have similar reactions along with fear, withdrawal, and behavioral problems. An acrimonious divorce can amplify these.

Ongoing conflict between divorcing parents could result in long-term problems for their children. However, shielding them from this can minimize any long-lasting effects. Cooperative parenting can also help.

This can be difficult if your spouse is bitter or resentful. However, there are ways you can work through a potentially toxic situation. Read on to learn more on how to avoid an acrimonious divorce.

What Is Considered an Acrimonious Divorce?

An acrimonious divorce occurs when one spouse feels bitterness and resentment. These feelings are usually due to bad treatment from their partner. They consider their conduct so extreme that any attempts at reconciliation would be futile.

When one partner doesn’t want to end the marriage while the other does, the divorce can be agonizing. The partner that’s holding on will usually try to delay the process.

This can exacerbate the emotional turmoil experienced. It can increase the legal costs of both parties as well. An agonizing divorce could eventually become an acrimonious one.

Striking the Balance: An Amicable Divorce

An amicable divorce occurs when both parties agree the marriage has ended. They are ready to move on separately. It’s possible, despite any animosity felt, to aim for this outcome instead of a hostile divorce.

You can’t control your spouse’s behavior. However, your response can contribute to making your divorce amicable. Here are a few ways you can achieve this:

Move on From the Past

Assigning blame for things that occurred in the past can stir up feelings of resentment. It’s also pointless once you’ve decided to move on. Instead, work on resolving issues to ensure a fair and cordial outcome.

Focus On What’s Important

This includes doing what’s in the best interest of your children. You should also have an idea of the result you desire and work towards achieving this. The process can be faster and easier if you don’t let the minor things distract you.

Encourage Open Communication

Open communication helps avoid misunderstandings. It ensures you’re clear on what you want. It also helps promote honesty and fosters trust throughout the divorce process.

The Environment Matters

It may help to have discussions in a comfortable, neutral setting. This helps ease tensions and can make communicating less stressful. If, despite trying, you can’t resolve certain issues, seek legal advice.

How to Avoid An Acrimonious Divorce

An acrimonious divorce can be prolonged, emotionally charged, and costly. More importantly, it can adversely affect your children’s mental health. Here are a few ways you can avoid having one.

Think Before Making a Final Decision

Your emotional state can impact the decisions you make. Consider the timing and how other events in your life may be affecting your choices. Unless you’re in danger, think things through before starting legal proceedings.

Talking to friends and family could also help make things clearer. However, be mindful of how their personal experiences and beliefs may influence their opinions.

This may sway you if you’re still having a hard time deciding if your marriage is truly over. If this is the case, you might want to consider speaking to an impartial third party with your spouse.

You may discover that despite these interventions, it’s clear that the marriage is over. These attempts, although seemingly futile, can help both parties accept the decision.

Set Clear Goals

Once you’ve taken the time to think things through, visualize the outcome you want. Set goals that will allow you to achieve this result. Obtaining legal advice would also be helpful. This is particularly important when considering what is best for your children.

It may be difficult to communicate this and other critical issues. This is even more so if you’re uncertain about what you want. Clarity will also help you to remain calm enough to have a frank yet open discussion with your partner.

It’s usually a good sign if the initial conversation on the topic goes fairly well. Chances are the entire process will be smoother and less painful for both parties.

Discuss Your Intentions With Your Partner

How you communicate can also impact discussions throughout the proceedings. Cold communication, although civil, can be very impersonal and distant. It’s a less-than-ideal way to end a relationship after spending years with someone. This indifference can also lead to resentment and make the process difficult.

Keep the lines of communication open to ensure each party knows where the other stands. This helps facilitate exchanges that can help you agree on issues. This will help tremendously when discussing the more difficult ones.

Keep The Discussions Private

Open discussions between both spouses are always encouraged. But these exchanges should never occur in the presence of your children. This helps to lessen the physical and emotional impact on them.

When both parents are amicable and civil to one another, children are more likely to handle the divorce better. It’s best if they only have a general idea of how the divorce will affect them. But only once you’ve reached a mutually beneficial arrangement.

They’ll also be keenly aware of any stress or anxiety you may be experiencing. This can take a toll on them emotionally. Although it may be difficult, try to shield them from this.

Consider Mediation

Compromise is one of the key elements involved when trying to avoid a toxic divorce. This involves being flexible and willing to concede.

Mediation can help a couple achieve this. However, extenuating circumstances could make it unsuitable for some couples. These can include abuse or spousal distrust.

Mediation involves sessions with you, your spouse, and a trained mediator. The aim is to resolve the issues preventing you from reaching an agreement.

A mediator is a neutral party that does not offer legal advice or make decisions. They facilitate discussions on custody, property, and financial support, to help finalize the divorce. A mediator can help you and your partner agree on what’s best for your family instead of letting a court decide.

Act in Good Faith

In every stage of the divorce process, you can try to set a positive tone by your actions and behavior. Doing your part also involves acting in good faith. This includes providing a full financial disclosure.

This helps to ensure the financial settlement is fair to both parties. It can also resolve issues such as taxes, valuations, and pensions. Reaching an agreement is more straightforward when there is honest communication about finances. The financial records can be easily reviewed to determine the best way forward.

Speak to An Attorney

Consulting with an attorney before deciding on divorce can bring much-needed clarity. However, as the divorce progresses, an attorney can help safeguard your interests as well.

This is particularly important if there are pre-marital or separation agreements in place. These can help determine potentially contentious issues.

Even with the absence of these, an attorney can walk you through the divorce process. This usually involves issues related to your children, property, and spousal support. There may also be other specific factors that pertain to your case.

If mediation is not an option, hire a Maryland divorce lawyer to guide you. This is particularly important as the state’s divorce law changed in October 2023.

Practice Self-Care Throughout the Process

The divorce process can evoke feelings of fear and anxiety. It’s also difficult being positive for your kids while you’re experiencing these emotions. This can take a toll on you both mentally and emotionally.

This can trigger anger, bitterness, and frustration. These emotions are usually directed at your partner and can create a vicious cycle that further prolongs proceedings.

Taking care of yourself can help alleviate some of the stress you might be feeling. Practice self-care by doing activities you enjoy. Spend time with loved ones and talk to them about how you’re feeling. This can help you to remain calm as well as be strong for your kids.

Think About the Future

Thinking of life beyond your divorce can be a motivating factor. Chances are that throughout the proceedings you’ll experience many negative emotions. These may seem constant.

However, focusing on the future can help. Think of the things you plan to do after your divorce. Many of your current emotions will be in the past, providing you with an opportunity to start afresh.

Think of taking the vacation you’ve always wanted. Or plan to learn a new skill that gets your creative juices flowing. There are limitless possibilities ahead, once you and your spouse settle.

Putting Acrimony Aside for an Amicable Outcome

An acrimonious divorce can cause long-term, adverse harm to your children. Hostile divorces are often prolonged and emotionally draining for couples as well. However, it is possible to work through any resentment to achieve a positive outcome.

The Blattner Family Law Group can help. Our collaborative efforts help you avoid a trial while attaining a mutually beneficial outcome. Take the first step to overcoming your fear and anxiety with our FREE consultation.