Minimizing Conflict in a Divorce
Many times in high-conflict divorce cases, the parties have a tendency to feed off of each other’s negative energy. This can, and does usually, result in creating more negative energy. People have a tendency to react strongly when attacked or when their fear or anger receptors are stimulated. The “fight or flight” instinct can kick in, and innocent family members, even children, can become involved in a seemingly never-ending tug of war.
That instinct to pile on is best avoided. Rising above the fray when buttons are pushed is imperative in these situations. For example, a spouse speaking ill of your sibling does not have to result in you attacking back in a fit of anger.
High-conflict communications can take place in many situations. Here are some tips on how to be guarded in your reactions:
1. Court Motions Don’t Always Help the Situation. Often times, a wronged party can immediately react to negativity by filing motions at court. Judges do not respond positively to this atmosphere of “tit-for-tat” and endlessly dueling court motions with he said/she said narratives. This often ends quite badly for both parties. Setting up aggressive and reactionary parameters in a divorce often leads to poor results for both parties.
That is not to say that court motions are never the answer. Sometime, this is the only route. Just ensure that motions are filed on a necessary and thoughtfully considered basis.
2. Listen Thoughtfully and Then Reply. Do your best to listen carefully to what the other person is saying prior to considering your own reaction. Obviously, in many divorces, statements can be marred by your personal feelings of anger or fear. Attempt to respond to your legitimate concerns and not your emotional reactions to statements. Moving discussions away from arguments and toward solutions can be very empowering.
3. Be Mindful in Regard to E-mail Correspondence. Applying the B.I.F.F. method can be very useful here. B.I.F.F. stands for Brief, Informative, Firm and Friendly. Rather than immediately reacting when a hostile e-mail is received with an equally hostile response of your own, attempt to compose a carefully crafted reply (if needed). Keep your correspondence civil and concise, and focus on facts. This will naturally aid in removing the need for your spouse to reply in a negative manner. (For more information, see Bill Eddy’s book, BIFF: Quick Responses to High Conflict People.)
Do the utmost to avoid reacting emotionally. This restraint could be the deciding factor between a costly, high-conflict divorce and a more amicable scenario for both parties.
Contact Our Essex and Hudson County Divorce Lawyers Today
Whether you are in the process of getting a divorce or would just like to discuss your situation, the law offices of Freeman Hughes Freeman, LLC, can help. Please contact Freeman Hughes Freeman, LLC, at (201) 222-7765 or click here to schedule a free consultation.