Do I have to be nice to my soon –to- be ex during a divorce?

We were all raised (hopefully) to be nice to others, but if there is ever a time when that can be exceedingly, painfully, extra-ordinarily difficult, that time is in the midst of a divorce. Especially when it comes to kids and money. Of course, you don’t have to be nice to anyone, however you define that, but here is why you its smart to be nice- or at least civil, during a divorce:

  • If there are kids involved, the most hurtful thing that you can do to them right now is to treat their other parent badly.  Even if you don’t fight in front of the kids, the kids know. They just do.
  • If a guardian ad litem or child’s representative has been appointed, he or she will let the court know which parent is capable of fostering a healthy relationship with the other parent, and who is not. In my experience, this is the main thing that judges care about when deciding who to give custody to! So, it matters to the judge- a lot!
  • You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. The old adage is true. I have seen in happen time and time again. Unless you are looking for a nasty, very expensive, drawn out divorce which ends in a trial- remember, you are probably hoping to settle the terms of your divorce with your spouse. While you cannot control his or her behavior, you can control yours. Don’t be the one who was so unable to control the anger, that nothing could be agreed upon, forcing the judge’s hand.
  • The more you can agree on, the quicker your divorce will go and the less expensive it will be, since lawyers charge by the hour. That does not mean that you should roll over, but rather pick your battles wisely.
  • If you are nice, your spouse- believe it or not- might be nice back to you and give you something that you want. Don’t hold your breath, but it has been known to happen sometimes.
  • Take the high road. You will feel better about yourself!

If both husband and wife are resigned to getting a divorce but are still able to behave maturely and have respect for one another, mediation may be a great option! It will greatly reduce the fighting and the financial cost- the two biggest stressors in a divorce. Keep it amicable and mediate, if possible. 

Carol O'Connor Cadiz
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Attorney & Owner at O'Connor Cadiz Law: Injury & Accidents, Disability Insurance.
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