Divorces happen for many reasons, and often, the apparent cause is not the root cause. As an example, infidelity may seem to be the reason for a divorce, but in actuality, the couple grew apart years ago to the point they were incompatible. In any case, divorces are frequently emotional, and it can be easy for your feelings to cost you in the short term and long term in the following ways.
The desire to punish or to get revenge backfires
It is normal to be angry to the point of rage toward a spouse while you divorce. To deal with this emotion, you may seek to punish or to get revenge. This can backfire in many ways:
- Talking negatively about your spouse to your children causes their relationship to be strained, and your children may lose respect for you.
- Attempting to get everything (house, money, custody, etc.) in a divorce could cause a judge to see you as greedy. Moreover, you might end up with a lawyer who does not serve your best interests.
- Moving too quickly may prove financially costly because you have an incomplete picture of what is going on.
Furthermore, when you are highly charged, these emotions prevent negotiations and discussions from being as successful as they could be.
The desire to be overly fair also goes wrong
You may have the overwhelming need to be fair in your divorce. In the right situations, this can work. Often, though, it backfires. In one case, a spouse who had an affair may feel guilty about it and make decisions he or she regrets later. For instance, feeling guilty in the face of a bitter and angry spouse who was cheated on can lead to someone giving the spouse primary custody of the children with limited visitation rights. The principle remains the same with assets such as houses, cars, money and even pets.
Minimizing the impact of emotions
Emotions are all but inevitable in divorces, but there are ways to minimize the impact they have. For one thing, if you have taken the time to think it over, even to the point of separation, and you realize a divorce is indeed what you want, your emotions may be in a calmer place than if you decided to divorce a few days after finding out your spouse has a drug problem. In fact, Arizona has a 60-day “cooling-off” window for the parties in a divorce.
Enlisting the help of a meditator or attorney brings into the situation someone who has no emotions involved. Doing this as early as possible in the process is helpful.