Actually, speaking harshly to or about your spouse has the potential to damage your reputation, your family dynamic and your chances for a favorable Massachusetts divorce.
Before you give in to the sweet release of any commentary that might smack of hostility, consider the potential benefits of taking the higher ground:
Keeping your stress level in check. There are definite advantages to having an amicable divorce. The divorce process itself is less stressful, reaching a mutually agreeable settlement is easier, and your life after divorce, including co-parenting, if that’s a component, has stronger potential for being pleasant. Remember that respectful, courteous behavior begets respectful, courteous behavior-most of the time, at least. Don’t allow your spouse to provoke you to engage in arguments. Sniping at each other isn’t healthy for the two of you or your children, whereas civility can help you put the negativity of divorce behind you faster and open up the opportunity for you to have a positive relationship going forward.
Getting your fair share of the assets. Too many times, we have seen a divorcing spouse call his or her spouse’s place of business or, worse, make a personal visit there, to pick a fight. Imagine what that can do to the spouse’s image at work, and how that misconduct might affect his or her standing at work. And before you say, “Good-he or she had it coming,” think about this: Denigrating a person publicly can have a negative impact on not only his or her business relationships but also his or her earning potential. That could result in less support or the distribution of fewer assets to you.
Further, when this type of behavior becomes a pattern, the harangued spouse may have grounds to negotiate better terms, given the impact of these behaviors to both reputation and income. Steer clear of confrontations in front of professional colleagues-including over social media-at all costs.
Earning favorable custody arrangements. Courts always consider the children’s well-being first and foremost in matters of custody. That means it is vital for you to demonstrate that you prioritize your children’s well-being above any feelings of animosity you might harbor against their other parent. If you put your children in the middle of an argument, attempt to alienate them from the other parent, or engage in public harassment or social media trolling that can be seen or heard by the children, their friends, their friends’ parents, etc., the court may order that you spend less time with the children and have less involvement making decisions on their behalf. Parenting requires consistently sound decision-making, so even momentary lapses of judgment can cast you in a negative light.
This brings up an important point about who is aware of what conversations. When something goes on social media, assume the world can see it. Likewise, when you have a private conversation with your spouse, whether by phone or email, or in person, remember that they might be recording or saving that conversation to share with the court. Abusive or excessively hostile statements can be used to demonstrate a variety of unsavory characteristics that might be used against you in custody or asset distribution decisions. At a minimum, they can quash your credibility-and likability-with the judge.
Remember: Even if a communication is entirely out of character for you and simply the result of losing your patience in a moment of stress, the court doesn’t know that. A temporary demonstration of hostility could be used to bolster claims by your spouse that this type of mistreatment happened often, in many areas of your marriage. How will the judge know otherwise?
Keep your cool and don’t engage in contentious interactions no matter how your spouse may choose to rant and rave. Staying steady, clear-headed, focused and positive throughout your divorce could put you in a much better place psychologically and, ultimately, financially.
Should you be in the midst of a divorce or contemplating divorce, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.