Divorce is already a traumatic experience for most individuals and their families. Dealing with a toxic spouse who has it out for you makes the divorce process even worse by dragging out issues that could easily be resolved with compromise and agreements outside of the courtroom. If you and your spouse have children, child sharing might prove to be challenging even after the divorce if you are not able to get along and there is lack of cooperation from your spouse.
So what options do you have when you are dealing with a toxic spouse? Well, the first thing to remember is that you are not alone in this journey. There are many individuals who are dealing with similar struggles and who are learning to cope. While it is not an easy process, it is a workable situation especially if you are committed to living a more peaceful co-existence with your ex-spouse.
Here are a few helpful suggestions to help minimize the stress of a difficult spouse during the divorce process:
1. Document Everything: A spouse that fabricates the truth puts you in a very difficult position, especially if there is no hard evidence to back up your side of the story. That is why it is important to document everything in writing. This includes the time your spouse spends with the children, the monies that you notice he or she is taking from your joint bank accounts and any other issue of importance. If you document everything, including your communication with your spouse and there is any question as to the history of events, you will have a clear record of everything that has occurred up to that point in time. Stay organized during your divorce. The more organized you are and have complete logs of your finances and communication, the easier it will be to refute any lies that are thrown your way by your spouse.
2. Hire A Solicitor: When you are dealing with a difficult and controlling spouse, you may want to consider hiring a solicitor. Having a solicitor to neutralize the situation may prove to be helpful when you and your spouse are having problems communicating related to day-to-day activities, in addition to legal issues. However, make sure you do your due diligence in hiring a solicitor that is the right fit for you and your situation. If you are tight on financial resources, hiring a solicitor that is highly litigious and not resolution focused, may put more stress on the situation and may also drag out your divorce longer than needed.
3. Keep The Past In The Past: One way to diffuse a situation is to keep the past in the past. While divorce is painful, it is more painful when your focus is on the past and not on moving forward. One of the reasons why your spouse may be making this a difficult process is because he or she is holding onto the past. By focusing on the issues at hand and moving forward, it could be that extra nudge your spouse needs to also move forward.
4. Talk To A Therapist: It is helpful if you talk to a seasoned professional to help you through the divorce process, but more importantly to talk about how to deal with a controlling and manipulative spouse. A therapist will provide you with helpful tools on how to respond to a difficult spouse and allow you to vent about some of the concerns and frustrations you are dealing with during this transition time. It will also help you keep in check your own actions and help determine whether you are contributing to the situation as well. By hiring a therapist, you may avoid excessive solicitor fees, especially if it has become your habit to vent your emotional frustrations to your solicitor.
In a divorce, sometimes it is not about “winning” but rather letting go of the past and focusing more on what’s ahead. This will allow you to not sweat the small stuff when your spouse is making things difficult. Overall, if dealing with your ex is too much to handle, you can speak to your solicitor and ask that he/she handle any and all communication related to the divorce and thus allow you to create boundaries with your ex-spouse.