Doing battle during a divorce won’t necessarily end with you getting you what you wanted. In fact, if you do battle in an irrational way, you may end up with nothing at all.
People may draw proverbial lines in the sand regarding what they consider worth fighting over during a divorce. But as in most things in life, we live and learn, so what you chose to battle for in your divorce may seem silly in retrospect.
When fighting during a divorce, people often feel like they’re being dragged through the mud for months, or even years. It may feel like it will never end. Almost everything can cause a battle during a divorce—who will be responsible to pay off the credit cards? Who will get the kids for the holidays?—the list seems endless. So, it’s up to you to figure out what you want and how you plan to approach the situation should the hostility begin to grow.
Here are some tips to help you learn how to pick your divorce battles in a mindful way.
Don’t beat yourself up when you feel frustration during the process. Divorce is messy. It’s filled with emotions you wouldn’t wish even on your worst enemy. Even if it seems you’re understanding what’s happening, you may still feel confusion and panic. That’s totally normal. Things will be weird and confusing at times.
You can choose your divorce battles mindfully, so you’ll be able to see the big-picture view with minimal stress. Doing this will require you to be brutally honest with yourself. When you do this, you should be able to answer these questions: Am I battling over something that’s essential? Do my dependents and I require this for our safety or well-being?
Answering truthfully will help you understand what things you feel are non-negotiable when you choose which battles to wage. Everyone’s situations are different, and it’s up to you to discern what’s truly worth your time and emotional energy to battle for. Things worth battling for likely include savings, alimony, fair division of debt, child support, spousal support, and protection orders, if any sort of endangerment has been involved.
What You’re Fighting For
Divorces can drag on due to the division of the types of assets that don’t have anything to do with money. Legal battles can drag on if couples fight over sentimental items or over things that they’d just like to have. Battles like this may not have anything to do with the items; it may just be an attempt to make yourself feel better.
It’s important for you to understand the line dividing the “nice to have” items from the “must have for survival” items. This will help you in determining what you’re willing to spend negotiating for them in terms of time, energy and money.
Why You’re Fighting
You may feel anger during the process of divorce, and choose to project those feelings onto your spouse. This may make you feel like you need to “get back” at them. You’ll find yourself soliciting advice on how you can make your ex pay for the hurt they’ve caused. It’s important instead to process those emotions and separate them from the legal aspects of your divorce. If your spouse is making unreasonable demands, you need to realize that they may doing this, too, whether they know they are or not.
You won’t be able to control how your spouse behaves during the process of divorce. If you find yourself placing demands on your partner—demands that you might be able to negotiate in a calmer and more rational manner—it may not hurt to analyze the approach and the ability it has to make the divorce process go smoother and faster.
Impact of Divorce Battles
It is important to remember that there are no “winners” in a divorce. Divorce cases can drag on for years, with nothing to show for it but drained bank accounts, cleared 401ks, and stresses on you and your kids that might never be relieved.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t stick up for yourself. But remember, before you begin the legal, financial and emotional battle of divorce, you need to be honest with yourself and think about what it is you truly need for survival, what is important to you, what’s best for your dependents, and how to act so you don’t have regrets in the future.
If you’re drained and broke after the divorce, how can you start the new chapter in your life mindfully, without being weighted down by indignation and hurt? You need to acknowledge the balance of advocating for yourself and knowing when to give up the control that doesn’t exist anymore.
It’s critical to be honest with yourself, kind to yourself, and mindful of the new chapter in your life that you can look forward to once your divorce journey comes to an end. Let that guide you how to spend your time, your money, and your emotional energy. Who knows—you may not really care about that new furniture very much after all!