The Collaborative Divorce Center

Healthy Divorce: General Rules of Divorce Conduct

Healthy Divorce: General Rules of Divorce Conduct

Divorce conduct is something you need to consider If reconciliation is not possible. You (or your spouse) have made the decision that the marriage is irreparable. And divorce is the only option, you should mentally prepare yourself for a challenging emotional journey. There’s somsthing common to hear, but not usually the case. And that is the hardest part of getting divorced is the decision to do it. In reality, the difficulty lies in keeping control of your actions. And also conducting yourself in a respectful and dignified manner through the process.

What not to do

In times of trouble, it is easy to set aside your control. When that happens, you can act in ways that may be harmful to you, your spouse, your children, and your family. After all, you may say, “I have nothing left to lose.” On the contrary, inappropriate behavior can result in significant loss. Clearly, if you are in the process of a divorce, irreversible damage has already been done to your marriage. But sometimes the most significant breakdown in the relationship between you and your spouse occurs after the divorce is filed. Continue to be mindful that you cannot take back words or actions. No matter how great the effort, you cannot change a person’s perception of the marital situation, you can only control your own actions. Approach the problems, no matter how difficult, with a sense of respect and integrity.

If you and your spouse have children together, a lifelong relationship has been created. Regardless of whether or not the marriage endures. The way you conduct yourself during this time will lay the ground work for future interactions with your former spouse regarding the children.

Also, the way you conduct yourself now will have a direct impact on the divorce itself. Be mindful that there are going to be areas of disagreement through the process, but these disagreements do not need to turn into a “War of the Roses” scenario. And, be mindful that your children are closely dialed in to your behavior as well as the behavior of your spouse. Use this chance to set a good example. Even if your spouse has broken this rule, do not lower yourself to that level.

General Rules of Conduct:

Do not make statements to others that may result in rumor or affect the listener’s relationship with your spouse.

Don’t argue in front of the children or place your children in uncomfortable situations.

Do not hinder or interfere with your spouse’s job situation.

Don’t act on impulse and attempt to punish your spouse for his or her conduct. Actions like this often backfire.

Do not stalk your spouse by following him or her around. Many states have laws against this.

Do not intentionally do things that you know will upset your spouse.

Do not call everyone your spouse knows. That may give the impression of you checking up on them, when you are not sure of your spouse’s whereabouts.

Restrain your behavior and avoid any conduct involving threats, harassment, pushing, shoving, or throwing objects. Avoid any action that might be considered violent.

Respect your children enough to leave them out of your marital problems and do not ask them to make decisions or take sides.

Remove yourself from confrontations or heated arguments with your spouse. Go for a walk or a car ride when a conflict is arising.

Give yourself and your spouse some time and space if an argument occurs, to avoid further escalation.

Approach the problems, no matter how hard, with a sense of respect and integrity.

In addition, consider using the service of a good counselor, a pastor, priest, rabbi, and/or spiritual advisor whose confidential relationship will ensure you a safe place to discuss your problems.

Take advantage of local services which may offer free or reduced assistance to you. Join a support group to interact with other individuals going through a similar experiences.

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