Five ways to deal with a difficult Ex during separation & divorce

Separation and divorce can lead to both emotional and financial stress. Consequently, it is no surprise that one partner will often behave unreasonably during the divorce process. While it is hoped that the introduction of No-Fault divorce in April 2022, will help to mitigate some of the hostility and acrimony that a breakup can entail, this is not guaranteed.

High conflict separation and divorce can make the process of separating and building a new life much more difficult, especially in both dragging out the resolution and running up additional costs. Owing to this, we’ve highlighted five approaches that can help to minimise the impact of an ex-patner constantly blocking progress in resolving and settling property, financial and children arrangements.

1.Appoint an experienced family law solicitor

The benefits of this are manifold. Your solicitor will not only provide you with appropriate legal advice but will also liaise with your ex-partner on your behalf. This helps to reduce the amount of direct contact you need to have. A good family lawyer will also encourage you to consider the benefits of alternative dispute resolution to avoid the cost, time and stress of going to court. Ideally, if your ex-partner has also appointed a solicitor, they will encourage them to engage with the process as constructively as possible.

2. Consider mediation

We would always encourage separating couples and families to consider mediation. This involves both parties talking things through with a trusted mediator (in separate rooms, if necessary) to try and reach agreements on the best way forward. As members of Resolution, we are committed to resolving issues in a non-confrontational manner and have two trained mediators experienced in helping couples to resolve their issues in this way. Mediation also keeps you in control of the agreements reached and is not left up to the rulings of a judge as in a court divorce.

3.Be organised

While it is difficult to remain dispassionate and not become overwhelmed by an ex-partner’s difficult behaviour, try to focus on ensuring you have all the paperwork you need relating to property, finances and any children. Keep a log of unreasonable behaviour in case it is needed at a later date. This will help your solicitor to run your case as smoothly as possible.

4.Communicate responsibly

To reduce the incidence of conflict, try to avoid face-to-face meetings as much as possible. Communicating via email or text can help to take the heat out of personal exchanges. Try not to react to nasty messages straightaway. Sleep on it and try to see any attacks for what they are – someone’s fear that they are no longer loveable. Always focus on moving forwards and not looking back.

5.Set boundaries

However unpalatable it feels, it does take two for a relationship to break down. Accepting your responsibility in the split and apologising is a good way to set a boundary, from which you can start to move forward.

Finally, do remember that divorce is not failure. People and circumstances change but it doesn’t negate the love and energy that the relationship was initially built upon.

If you are thinking about separation or divorce, we offer an initial no obligation one-hour appointment for just £50 (Incl. VAT), so you can talk through the options specific to your personal circumstances with a qualified family lawyer. To book an appointment, please contact 01444 472700, email or complete the form below.


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