Did your spouse wear the cliched pants in your relationship? If so, you could be vulnerable to bullying during the dissolution process—especially if you suffered verbal abuse or passive aggressive behavior while married. Your ex’s manipulation and hostile conduct could convince you to take property or custody deals clearly not in your best interest or the best interest of your children. Keep the following in mind as you strive to strike a fair balance:
Set Clear Expectations
You may have allowed your spouse to push you in the past, but in divorce, you enjoy a fresh opportunity to take a stand. Outline your expectations well in advance to prevent controlling or manipulative behavior from your spouse.
Don’t Fall For Old Traps
Before you arrive at mediation or in court, think carefully about the unfair tactics your spouse is likely to employ—and how you can avoid falling for the usual traps. Don’t succumb to temptation to trade insults or threats in court, but don’t give in to demands if your ex uses harsh language.
Avoid Mediation (In General)
Mediation allows many spouses to minimize the cost and timeline of divorce. It’s most effective when both parties enjoy equal standing in their relationship. When one spouse possesses far more power than the other, mediation can become little more than the ‘powerless’ spouse conceding to all of the other party’s demands. In such cases, the less powerful spouse can benefit more from litigation.
Unwilling to go to court? Collaborative divorce could be a viable middle ground. It minimizes the time and expense of divorce while maintaining an adversarial approach and allowing both spouses to fully utilize legal representation.
If you choose mediation, exercise your right to outside legal counsel. Your attorney cannot advocate for you directly during mediation sessions, but he or she can provide a valuable perspective and encourage you to stand up for yourself. Select a neutral mediator capable of diffusing tension and evening the playing field.
Cut Outside Contact
Your spouse’s greatest manipulation may occur outside of mediation or court. Consider cutting contact as much as possible, especially if your phone calls inevitably turn into yelling matches.
No matter the circumstances surrounding your divorce, seek support from a trusted Virginia family law attorney. You can count on DiPietro Law Group for exceptional representation every step of the way.