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Divorce Turbulence: Three Tips for Working with an Uncooperative Spouse

Navigating the obstacles of divorce is a hard enough task on its own, especially when children are involved and an overwhelming amount of financial arrangements must be made to assemble new post-divorce lifestyles for both parties. Whether you have an abundance of work cut out for you in the area of asset division or you just cannot seem to come to an agreement about your parenting plan, the divorce process is an emotional experience for anyone and everyone, no matter the circumstances. Factor in working with an uncooperative spouse, and the challenge becomes significantly more difficult.

Reasons Why Your Spouse May Be Lashing Out

There are a multitude of reasons why your spouse may be in acting in a way that is deliberately uncooperative. Often, an angry or hurt ex-partner will argue or engage in stubborn behavior in order to get attention or to see if you still care by provoking you. Some spouses simply carry a chip on their shoulder during and after the divorce, lashing out when they feel overwhelmed with loss of control or feelings of betrayal. Whatever the driving force behind the behavior, how you handle the situation can make a big difference in the overall outcome of the divorce experience.

How Should You React?

The American Psychological Association (APA) stresses the importance of communication when it comes to making the split as smooth as possible. When your spouse refuses to communicate, however, or his or her communication is strictly hostile or argumentative, the only option you have is to control your own behavior. This means being aware of and harnessing your own reactions when your spouse lashes out. Experts recommend the following tips when dealing with an uncooperative spouse:

  1. Avoid reinforcing argumentative behavior. Resist the urge to engage in your ex-partner’s troublesome behavior as best as you can. This means not allowing him or her to elicit a reaction from you. The moment your spouse sees that he or she is upsetting you, you reinforce his or her negative behavior and he or she will likely continue the same pattern of interactions. The more you retaliate, the more he or she will continue to argue. Hence, the vicious cycle will continue.
  2. Ask for help. Professional help can go a long way in handling an uncooperative or unresponsive spouse. Consider legal mediation, working with a qualified family law attorney, and seeking out therapy to help you with the emotional toll of the divorce as a whole. Talking things out and working with skilled professionals can empower you and help you draw on the resilience within to handle the situation peacefully on your end.
  3. Stay focused. Disengaging from your spouse’s argumentative behavior begins with staying focused on yourself and the goals you have before you. Instead of continually spending your mental energy on your spouse and the perpetuating conflict, spend your energy on self-care, your children, and the dreams you would like to make reality post divorce. Not only will you stop feeding into your spouse’s toxic behavior, you will also feel more productive and see more progress with your self-growth as you move through the divorce process.

Going to battle with a difficult spouse in the midst of the end of your marriage is never pleasant, but having the right legal counsel at your disposal can make a difference. If you are attempting to communicate with your spouse as you finalize the split but are not having any luck, speak with a competent DuPage County divorce attorney who can arm you with the resources and direction you need to move forward. Call the Roscich & Martel Law Firm, LLC today at (630) 793-6337 and ask for a personal consultation.

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/betsy-ross-licsw-cgp/when-your-exspouse-and-co_b_4173203.html

http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/healthy-divorce.aspx

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