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Ex Etiquette: Keeping Things Civil During and After Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

Novi, MI collaborative law attorneyThe vast majority of divorcing and divorced spouses do not want to fight. However, a dynamic of disagreeableness, once started, can be very tough to change. If you are in this situation, what can you do? We have two suggestions for you.

First, consider working with an attorney who practices collaborative law. This practice was developed to help couples resolve highly contentious issues in a divorce without having to resort to litigation, where key decisions about the couple’s future get made by a judge. 

Collaborative Divorce Starts With an Agreement, or Contract

Lawyers deal with contracts every day. But what, you may be wondering, do contracts have to do with a divorce?

In legal terms, marriage is a contract between two people. But it is one formed between two people who love each other and want to be bonded to one another. 

Divorce is essentially the creation of a new contract. But this time, it is is one that stems from essential disagreements between the parties. So how can two disagreeing—and sometimes disagreeable—people create a contract of agreement? 

A key part of the collaborative divorce process is the Collaborative Participation Agreement, which is signed by the two spouses and their attorneys at the beginning of the process. By signing this agreement, the parties make a commitment to treat each other respectfully, to discuss their issues openly and honestly, and to reach a settlement agreement without court intervention.

Practicing Good Ex Etiquette in Your Divorce

But what does it mean, exactly, to “treat each other respectfully?” That brings us to our second suggestion: Discuss the meaning of “respectful” with your divorce team and agree to practice good some specific rules of ex etiquette. Here are a few of the key rules you might want to consider:

  • No bad-mouthing. That means no criticizing of your ex to others, particularly in front of children.
  • Do not be spiteful. Being spiteful means being picky over some small matter in an unhelpful way or a manner that is sure to annoy the other person. 
  • Do not hold grudges. Let it go. Do not waste your precious time trying to assign fault and blame for things in the past.
  • Practice empathy. In other words, try to imagine yourself in the other person’s place.
  • Stay calm when confronted, or when confronting someone else.
  • Respect each other’s turf. Each spouse is going to develop their own post-divorce lifestyle in their new residence. Accept that each person has a right to their own new “turf.” Do not expect the other person to change how they manage their home or their lifestyle just because you think your way is better. Instead, reach for a point of compromise.

Consult an Experienced Farmington Hills Collaborative Divorce Lawyer

Even in a generally amicable divorce, tensions can rise during and after the legal divorce process. When divorcing spouses or exes are having trouble reaching agreement on one or more issues, an Oakland County divorce attorney who is specifically trained in mediation and collaborative divorce law can help. Call Elkouri Heath PLC at 248-344-9700 for a free consultation. 

Sources:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/sns-tns-bc-fam-exetiquette-20180410-story.html

https://www.familycircle.com/family-fun/relationships/ex-etiquette/

Oakland County Bar Association State Bar of Michigan Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan WCCDBA Woman Lawyers Association of Michigan
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