A divorce is a difficult process for you and your ex-spouse, but it becomes even more challenging when one of you acts combatively. Regardless of the feelings that you now have for one another, it's usually in the collective best interest to get along as well as possible so that you can go through the proceedings with a relative amount of ease. This is even more important if you have children. If your spouse is repeatedly acting in a combative manner, however, here are some ways that you can deal with him or her.
Communicate Through Your Attorney
You may feel as though you aren't getting anywhere when you try to discuss the terms of your divorce and children's custody with a combative spouse. It's easy to get drawn into a conflict with him or her, which can make everything worse. One of the best strategies that you can adopt is to communicate through your attorney. Your spouse is less likely to be combative to your attorney, and he or she is likely skilled and experienced in dealing with people who are difficult. Sending your requests and responses through your attorney saves you from having to directly correspond with your spouse.
Stay On Task
If you decide to directly communicate with your spouse, set some tasks for each conversation and stick to them. For example, if you need to discuss the division of your assets, try to focus exclusively on this topic. Don't allow yourself to get pulled into an argument about something that you may or may not have done several years ago that bothered your spouse. You shouldn't be afraid of firmly saying things such as, "If you're not going to stick to the task, I'm going to hang up until you're ready to act more maturely."
Don't Draw Your Children In
A divorce is already difficult for children of any age, and the entire situation has the potential to become worse when your spouse is acting combatively. It can be easy to vent about him or her to your children, especially if they're teenagers. You may simply need an outlet for your frustration, or part of you may be looking to get your children more on your side. Drawing the children into the challenges that you and your spouse are facing won't help the overall situation, so it's best to keep your mouth shut about the divorce proceedings when you're talking to them.