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6 Tips for Avoiding a Toxic Divorce

toxic divorce

Around 43% of all first marriages end in divorce, with second and third marriages even more likely to hit the skids. Going through a divorce is difficult enough without things turning bitter and toxic. A toxic divorce characterized by high levels of conflict, anger, and resentment can have long-lasting negative effects on you, your ex-spouse, and your children. With one in two children likely to see their parents divorce, here are 6 tips to help you avoid a toxic divorce situation:

1. Seek Mediation

Mediation involves a neutral third-party who helps facilitate discussions and negotiate agreements between divorcing spouses. The mediator does not take sides or determine outcomes. Their role is to promote effective communication and assist you and your spouse in reaching compromises. Mediation is typically faster, less expensive, and less adversarial than going to court. It empowers you and your partner to make your own decisions.

2. Discuss Issues Calmly

Don't let conversations with your spouse escalate into heated arguments. If tempers start to flare up, call for a time-out and revisit the issue later when emotions have settled down. Use "I" statements to express your needs and concerns without placing blame. Actively listen and try to see your spouse's perspective too. The goal is to have constructive discussions, not destructive fights.

3. Put the Children First

During a divorce, it's easy to get caught up in your own emotions and needs. But remember that your kids' interests should take priority. Shield them from adult conflicts as much as possible. Don't badmouth your spouse in front of them. And make shared custody arrangements based on their best interests, not what's ideal for you or your ex. Keeping the kids out of the crosshairs will reduce tensions.

4. Work with Divorce Lawyers Who Promote Resolution

Interview several attorneys and select one who tries to settle cases fairly through negotiation rather than aggressively litigating every dispute. Make it clear you want your St. Petersburg divorce lawyer to help facilitate agreements between you and your spouse, not just fight to "win". Lawyers who take adversarial approaches often end up prolonging divorce cases unnecessarily.

5. Let Go of Resentment

Divorce proceedings stir up many hard feelings. You may feel angry, betrayed, sad, or even vengeful. Try to release the negative emotions and desire for retaliation. Carrying bitterness forward will only continue fueling the conflict. Accept the end of the marriage, forgive each other, appreciate the good times you shared, and move forward with optimism about the future. This will create space for an amicable split.

6. Consider Counseling

Seeing a counselor or therapist can provide an outlet to process your emotions in a healthy way. They can also teach coping techniques to help you better manage stress and conflict. Counseling together may even save the marriage if both partners are willing to work on issues. But even if the relationship does end, counseling ensures you're in a good mental state moving forward.

Following these tips can help you achieve an orderly, respectful, and relatively smooth dissolution of your marriage.