Sunday, April 13, 2014

GUEST POST: 8 Reasons to Work with Your Spouse During Divorce

If you've read my blog before, you know that I had about as amicable of a divorce as possible. I'm grateful that my ex-husband and I were able to make such a sad, difficult time a little less awful by doing our best to work together.

So, I am excited to share tips that might help you and your spouse cooperate. This week's post comes to you from Dr. Matthew B. Candelaria (PhD, U of Kansas 2006), a freelance writer who has written for lawyers in more than two dozen states on a wide range of topics, including personal injury, investment fraud, copyright, divorce, child custody, and other types of family law.

Divorce can be one of the most hurtful, traumatic events in your life, but it doesn’t have to be. Whatever the reasons that brought you together with your spouse, and whatever the reasons you’re coming apart, your divorce c an actually be a healing process. You have the power to make it happen, you just have to choose to do it. 

Here are eight reasons why you should try to work with your spouse during divorce:

1. It Speeds Up the Process.

Even if it’s ultimately a healing process, divorce is going to come with some pain. That pain gets worse the longer the divorce process stretches out. And the longer the process takes, the more risk there is that one of you will say or do something hurtful—possibly without even meaning to—that can break your fragile truce and cause things to spiral out of control.

Either spouse has the power to slow down the divorce process. Working together will help the process resolve faster so you both can get on with your lives.

2. You’ll Be Happier.

Happiness is a choice. When you take steps to work together with your spouse, you’re making the choice that you want to be happier. It isn’t as easy as that, but once you make the commitment, you will be able to do a lot more to actively achieve your happiness, such as letting go of baggage.

3. You’ll Have Less Baggage.

During your marriage, you acquired a great deal of emotional baggage that you have to unpack during and after the divorce. For some of this baggage, the person best equipped to help you unpack it is your spouse. For example, they will be able to tell you why they did what they did and put many of your fears and insecurities to rest.

After the divorce, you may not be in a position to talk frankly with your ex, so working with them during the divorce may be your last, best hope for getting answers to questions that may otherwise plague you for the rest of your life.

4. It Protects Your Finances.

Divorce has the possibility of destroying your finances. There are many ways that your spouse can hurt you financially. You can also hurt yourself, and sometimes trying to hurt your partner can backfire. The best way to ensure that you both come out of your divorce with reasonable financial health is to be honest and cooperative.

5. It’s Better for the Kids.

Your kids love you both, and seeing you two hurting each other hurts them. Kids caught in the middle of an ugly divorce suffer significant emotional harm. Chances are, even if you try to shield them from the hurtful behind-the-scenes fighting, you won’t succeed. They’ll be affected more than you know.

And working with your spouse makes the practical aspects of child care easier, too. If you have an amicable relationship coming out of the divorce, then the two of you will be more likely to be able to make friendly concessions when the strictness of the court-ordered custody arrangement might make things difficult.

6. It Reduces the Risk of Violence.

A stressful divorce can lead to violence. If either partner is being hurt or threatened by an unfair divorce proceeding, they may feel their options are limited and may think violence is their best chance of getting what they want. Working with your partner helps them feel safe and honored and gives them another way to express themselves without violence.

7. It’s Not Worth It.

The truth of the matter is that everything you do to hurt your spouse during divorce hurts you, too. It might even hurt you more. Divorce isn’t a time to be focused on the past, it’s time to be looking toward the future. You have a whole new life out there waiting for you—there’s no sense in ruining it in petty squabbles over the old one.

8. You Owe It to Your Spouse.

When you got married, you made a commitment to your spouse. Until your marriage is officially over, that commitment remains. Working with your spouse on the divorce is your last act of honor during marriage. In doing it, you honor not just them, but also yourself, and the love that once bound you.

Show that you still believe in love and prepares you for the new love to come.

What are your tips to work with your spouse through your divorce?


  1. Don @ HowYouCanFindLoveApril 15, 2014 at 9:38 PM

    All great tips. I've never been divorced (and hopefully never will be) but I just don't get why some put much effort into making the other person miserable. They are just making themselves miserable as well and drawing out the entire process. Accept that the relationship is over and work together so that you can move on more quickly. You;ll be happier and healthier in the long run.

  2. Makes me think of that expression that holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.