Dealing with your Ex-Spouse

After the divorce, you and your ex-spouse will have two separate households. You will have to maintain those two homes on the money with which you maintained one earlier. “Two” cannot live as cheaply as “one,” especially when “two” are two separate households.

Furthermore, if your ex-spouse has been a jerk all of his or her life, it is very unlikely that going through a divorce will make him or her less of a jerk. A drunken wastrel will probably continue to be a drunken wastrel, and nothing the court nor I can do will be likely to cure the problem. After the divorce, you will be separated, but to the extent that you are still tied together by visitation, child support, alimony, or debt payments, you will still have to deal with the problems together.

Once you are divorced you have an ex-spouse to deal with. The level of dealing varies from “You still have my red hammer” to “Will you contribute to your daughter’s wedding?” You can do this in ways that will help create a greater likelihood of calm discussion or you can help create a situation that can be emotionally chaotic. Many of the recommendations in the negotiating with spouse section will apply. Useful recommendations are:

Remain calm. Your ex-spouse may not have gotten over you. He or she may want to engage you emotionally and if anger works they will go there.

Let go of your anger.

Do not send mixed messages.

Stay focused on business matters.

If you state consequences you must follow through. But remember every negative comment does not demand a negative response. A fish that rises for every bait soon gets caught. You are smarter than a fish.

Do not use the children as messengers or spies.

Comply with agreements and orders. This minimizes areas of conflict.

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