Divorce is generally a difficult process with its own twists and turns. If you are dealing with a spouse who has a difficult personality, to begin with, it can make the process that much more complicated. Even with a difficult spouse, however, a settlement is possible, and there are steps you can take to help ensure that your divorce goes as smoothly as is can.
Plan Ahead and Make Your Intentions Known
If you have come to the emotionally difficult decision that a divorce is in your best interests, your best path forward is to gather the necessary information and documentation before making your intentions known to your spouse, if possible. This documentation includes:
- Copies of all financial documents, such as retirement accounts, insurance policies, car deeds, and more
- Personal documents, such as your passport
- Photos of marital and separate property, such as recreational vehicles, family heirlooms, and other valuables
After you have done this leg work, it is time to carefully consider how you are going to share your divorce intentions with your spouse. Carefully consider his or her personality and let this guide your plans. People with difficult personalities are often driven by a need to exert control, by fear of the unknown, and by feelings of insecurity. In other words, it is generally best to avoid surprising your spouse and to break the news in a manner that will not put your spouse on the defensive (to the best of your ability).
Set Firm Boundaries
It is well within your rights to set firm boundaries regarding your divorce and to adhere to them. Yes, you want to take a delicate approach with your spouse’s difficult personality, but if you do not set firm boundaries regarding your expectations, it is much easier for your spouse to push the limits of your resolve. As soon as your spouse ascertains that you are waffling or are generally uncertain, he or she will be that much more likely to manipulate the situation.
Do Not Look to Your Spouse to Change
Divorce is a legal process that is fraught with emotion. In such circumstances, people’s character flaws generally become more pronounced rather than less. Your spouse is not going to change to make the divorce process easier or more civil, and you should not expect him or her to do so. Instead, make your divorce decisions based on your spouse’s personality as you know it – while keeping your best interests at the forefront throughout.
Do Not Be Drawn into Conflict
Difficult people often deal with difficult situations by creating conflict, but you are not obligated to engage. In fact, anything you say or do in reaction could come back to haunt you in the course of your divorce. Make it your policy not to react but to, instead, move forward with purpose according to your divorce plan.