Divorce and family separation can sometimes bring out the worst in people. Some people consider that the situation in which they find themselves justifies deception and outright lies. You may need to rethink how you deal with the person you once loved (and may still love) and who loved you.
Here are some guidelines which you may find helpful:
- If love is gone, substitute politeness
- Be sceptical. What is said may be intended to deceive you or may be self deception
- If in doubt, keep your cards close to your chest and guard your words
- Walk away from arguments or conflict
- Expect your spouse, civil partner or partner to resent your friends and advisers and to attempt to undermine their advice and your confidence in them
- Consider the possibility of mediation or collaborative practice.
- Don’t necessarily expect your spouse, or partner to be more honest or kinder to you just because there will be a divorce, dissolution of partnership or a separation
- Remember that the most important people at this time are your children, if you have any. Even though you may no longer live as a couple, you will still be their parents. Concentrate communications with your spouse, or partner on jointly continuing to care for your children and the new arrangements that have to be made
- Don’t discuss or talk about the separation, dissolution or divorce in front of the children, unless you do so with your spouse, or partner and/or agree what each of you will say
- Don’t criticise your spouse, or partner, or their new partner, to the children, whatever you may think. Let them form their own view
- Don’t gloat if you think you have done well, as it may rebound on you
- Be prepared to compromise
- If necessary, obtain an alternative address for post until the conclusion of the case so that your post will not be intercepted by your spouse, civil partner or partner
- Don’t keep any files in connection with your case anywhere your spouse, civil partner or partner may find them, enabling them to know your entire case and strategy
- Don’t agree to sell your home without first taking legal advice. Otherwise, you could find yourself homeless and without funds to buy somewhere else. It may force you to settle on less advantageous terms due to the need to finalise the sale and purchase
- Assume that all information you have about your circumstances and those of your spouse, or partner is relevant
- Don’t be intimidated by your spouse, or partner if an ultimatum or deadline is given to you to accept or reject an offer. Avoid negotiating “with a gun to your head” as to time. It is frequently the case that an offer or a better offer may be available, or if not, the court can determine the issues
These can only be generalisations but they all need bearing in mind.