Bergen County Family Law Attorney
Helping Clients Minimize Conflict During a Divorce
The Radol Law Firm understands that conflicts will inevitably arise during the course of your divorce. Engaging in arguments increases your anger and stress level while often prolonging your divorce. The longer it takes, most likely, the more expensive your divorce becomes. The Radol Law Firm has some advice and techniques to help reduce the anger, stress, length, and expense of your divorce. If you need quality legal support through the divorce process, contact our firm for a consultation.
When arguments do arise, you cannot control your spouse’s behavior, but you can control your own. You have two choices: To engage or not to engage. Engaging in every single argument turns your divorce into a series of major battles. These battles can be avoided by simply choosing not to engage.
Recognize the Need for Time
If during any particular argument you find yourself beginning to lose your temper, walk away for a few minutes and give yourself some time to regain control of your anger. If you cannot gain control of your temper or find that the conversation is getting nowhere, opt to table the discussion until a later date after you have both had time to reflect calmly on the issue.
Take Your Share of the Blame
Saying “I’m sorry” is a very effective way to put out the fire of an argument. Much can be accomplished if one spouse is big enough to apologize first. Admit your share of the blame and let your spouse know that you would rather be part of the solution. Here’s a good example to segue way a heated argument back into a calm discussion: “I’m sorry. I am certainly guilty of making this matter worse and I want to correct that.”
Be a Good Listener
An important part of being a good listener is not interrupting your spouse while he or she is speaking and not jumping to conclusions. Always wait until your spouse is finished speaking before responding to what he or she has said. Then, restate your spouse’s complaint in your own words so your spouse knows you listened and heard by saying something such as “So what you are saying is _____. Is that correct?”
Sandwich Your Responses
Some refer to sandwiching a negative or what can be perceived as a negative statement, between two positive statements as “The Sandwich Technique” or “Build-Break-Build.” Sandwiching your statements in this manner can help your argumentative or combative spouse become more responsive to working out a solution when the two of you seem to be at an impasse.
Begin by acknowledging something positive your spouse has done for or said to you. For example, “Thank you for being open to our discussion about _____. I think you are being a bit unreasonable about _____. We were doing so well communicating with each other prior to this. Let’s not destroy our efforts by arguing now.” The key to this technique is praise, followed by criticism, followed by praise.
Use Your Words Wisely
Words have an enormous amount of power. When you are trying to minimize conflict, you want your words to defuse, not ignite the situation so use your words wisely. Softening introductory phrases like “Perhaps you could ___” or “Maybe if we tried ____” can help to neutralize a confrontational situation.
The tone and volume of your voice is also important. If your spouse starts speaking louder and quicker, instead of matching the volume and speed, go the opposite direction by speaking more quietly and slowly.
Coming up with multiple solutions for a problem is a good way for you and your spouse to find the solution that best fits both of your needs. If your spouse has a solution that is not acceptable to you, try to steer the conversation toward resolution by saying something such as “An alternate possibility might be to ________. What do you think?” Coming up with a solution that is acceptable to the both of you involves compromise. If you each want something from each other, trade one favor for another by saying something along the lines of ““Yes, I can do that for you if you can ______ for me. Sound fair?”
Contact An Englewood Divorce Attorney
The Radol Law Firm is prepared to deal with both the financial issues and the parenting and custody issues that may arise in connection with your divorce. Contact our firm for a consultation.