Tips for Dealing with a Combative Ex-Spouse

Dealing with a combative ex-spouse is an all-too-common occurrence following divorce. For both men and women, working out disagreements about property, children, or other essential items both during and after divorce can be a headache and often leads to disagreements, anger, frustration and hurt feelings. If you’re dealing with a combative ex-spouse, here are some tips for diffusing the situation and remaining calm.

Don’t Discuss Non-essential Matters

When talking with an ex-spouse, there are some things that are absolutely necessary to discuss. These things may include where your child will attend school, who will take the child for the weekend or how you’re going to pay for certain expenses. However, there are some things that are irrelevant to your life and your child’s after divorce and should not be discussed. When having conversations with your ex-spouse, always stick to the facts. Only discuss essential matters, and don’t bring up past negative feelings or actions.

Restrict Communication to Email Only if Necessary

If you and your ex-spouse just can’t seem to have a civilized conversation with each other, you may need to restrict your communication to email alone. A tip from Bill Eddy, an attorney, therapist and mediator, is never to respond to an email with hostility or aggression. Instead, craft a carefully calculated response -- if a response is even necessary -- that addresses the issue at hand politely and cordially. Always focus on the facts, be courteous and be concise. Eddy suggests the BIFF responsive, standing for Brief, Informative, Friendly and Firm.

Exercise Self-awareness and Self-control

Exercising self-awareness and self-control is easier said than done, but doing so can be essential when dealing with a combative ex-spouse. If you’re struggling with doing either, seek the help of a professional to learn some tips about mood and emotional management.

Keep the Kids Out of It

The most important thing that you can do as a parent who is dealing with a combative ex-spouse is to avoid putting your kids in the middle of a tense situation. Make sure all the discussions that you and your ex-spouse have are private, and refrain from badmouthing your ex-spouse in front of your children. Remind yourself and your ex-spouse that the wellbeing of your kids is the most important and biggest priority for both of you.

Rely on the Legal Support of an Attorney

If you and your ex-spouse are battling about money, custody or another court-related argument, you don’t need to engage. Instead, call your attorney to get an enforcement order. Wages can be garnished if a support order is going unpaid, a court can intervene in child custody battles and more.

At the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny, our attorneys can help you cope with a combative ex-spouse after divorce. To learn more, call us at 425-460-0550 or fill out our online contact form

Molly B. Kenny
Founder and Principal Divorce Attorney
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Molly B. Kenny's Bellevue family law office is conveniently located on Lake Bellevue Drive, making it easily accessible to those in the greater Seattle area. Our divorce and child custody lawyers help men and women get the information, guidance, and compassionate representation they need.
Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny