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How To Not Start A War When Breaking Up

Breaking up is always an emotional event but it doesn’t have to be a disaster. There are many reasons to avoid full-out warfare including reducing your legal costs, minimizing the effect on your children, speeding up resolution of the issues and reducing the toll the process takes on you.

Even where a relationship ends on the best of terms, emotions are high, feelings get hurt and people are forced to adjust to major changes in their lives. Where the breakup involves a breach of trust or harsh words said, the tension rises even more.

We may be initially inclined to react, to respond, often in kind, with words or actions. Very seldom does this get us anywhere or change the view of the other person. More likely it just escalates things.

The same applies when seeking out and instructing a lawyer. A “burn it to the ground” approach is not likely to make you happy at the end of the day. Even where people are prepared to be reasonable on some things, often they dig in and try to teach the other party a lesson, to prove a point.

Good legal advice on separation is advice that is outcome focused, that takes into account the costs and benefits of an approach, and that plans long-term, not just in reaction to something. When it makes sense to push a point, it is not done with spite or in an attempt to humiliate the other party.

Particularly when children are involved these types of high conflict approaches are harmful in the long-term. They not only make it difficult for the parents to cooperate on almost anything, but it ultimately affect the children, despite best efforts to the contrary.

It takes particular restraint not to draw negative conclusions about your ex when you don’t have all the facts as does it not to make comments to your children or friends about they he or she is doing. That restraint over the long-term is called taking the “high road” and it will serve you well.

By the same token, good legal strategy in the context of a separation is one that has to be able to take a stand and even push things into court at times. A failure to have that as a potential option means that others can fail to take you seriously. It means you can be taken advantage of. What you don’t want is a knee-jerk reaction that always lands you in a fight.

Often at the outset of a divorce or separation words are said, and actions taken that push people down a path of conflict that can play out over months or years. It is unlikely that these people realize the potential consequences of their behavior at the time.

By bearing this in mind, you are more likely to make it through this period with minimal harm. You may need to bite your tongue. Compromise will be a necessity, but you will not end up wondering how you spent years of your life fighting over something that seemed insignificant in retrospect and that poisoned so many other aspects of your life.