6 Tips for Avoiding a Toxic Divorce

Texas couple arm wrestling during a Texas divorce

I want to help you obtain the most favorable outcome possible in your case.

  • Contact me today for a FREE case strategy meeting.
  • Available in-person, by phone, or by video.
Brett Pritchard Law

Every divorce involves unexpected twists and turns, and being prepared for some ups and downs along the way is well advised. However, some divorces take a turn for the worse and head into toxic territory.

A toxic divorce will not only cost you more and take you longer to finalize but will also take an emotional toll on everyone involved, including your children. Avoiding a toxic divorce is always worth the effort, and an experienced Killeen divorce attorney can help.

It Only Takes One to Make a Divorce Toxic

Doing everything you can to keep your divorce as amicable as possible is always a worthy goal and can streamline the process while minimizing the emotional strain. However, it’s not always enough. If your spouse is motivated to make your divorce a high-conflict affair, there is probably very little you can do to mitigate the problem besides avoiding turning up the heat.

If this is the challenging situation you find yourself in, it’s time to strategize the smoothest path forward with your seasoned Killeen divorce attorney. He or she will likely advise you to forego unproductive negotiations and head directly to court.

Turning Your Divorce Around

If you find that your divorce is heading in a toxic direction but it’s more of a byproduct of the situation than a matter of intent, there are things you can do to help tone down the drama.

Remain Calm

One of the most important tools for moving your divorce smoothly forward is remaining calm – to the degree possible. Divorce is an emotional rollercoaster, and you’re going to face your share of challenges, but keeping your emotions in check can keep toxicity at bay and help you keep your divorce in the mild to moderate range instead of spiraling out of control.

However, you shouldn’t ignore your parental or financial rights for the sake of keeping the peace. Instead, keeping calm can be part of your strategy for protecting your rights without escalating conflict, whether you’re having the initial divorce conversation, negotiating terms, or finalizing the matter.

If you are able to keep your emotions under control until you discuss your options with your skilled divorce attorney, you can save yourself the stress of having a larger-than-life reaction to every curveball your divorcing spouse throws your way. In the end, you are better off having a strategy than a theater-worthy reaction.

Be Flexible but Well Informed

The terms of your divorce will directly affect your parental rights as well as your and your children’s financial future, which means it’s no time to be a pushover. However, before you begin fighting over every issue, you should remember that it’s a much better idea to know what you’re up against, identify your priorities, and negotiate accordingly.

The more you know about your household’s financials and your marital estate, the better positioned you’ll be to negotiate fair terms. Further, the better prepared you are to outline your children’s best interests, the better positioned you’ll be to obtain favorable child custody terms.

Keep Your Sights on the Big Picture

It’s very easy to get bogged down by the specifics of divorce, and while squabbling over a furniture set or any other minor possession may feel important at the time, it almost certainly isn’t in the grand scheme of things.

By training your attention on the bigger picture – obtaining a fair division of property overall, securing your parental rights, and seeking spousal maintenance as applicable – you will gain the perspective you need to protect your rights better.

The bottom line is that you will put this divorce behind you, and you will move on with your post-divorce future. This point can help you keep things moving in the right direction.

Have a Communication Protocol in Place

If you and your divorcing spouse have no trouble communicating at this stage in your divorce, consider yourselves ahead of the curve. However, it’s important to keep in mind that it is not uncommon for the lines of communication to break down as a divorce progresses. If your divorce is headed off the rails, that breakdown in communication can be dramatic.

It’s a good idea to have a communication protocol in place that helps alleviate the pressure of face-to-face conversations or phone calls before things begin to heat up. For example, many divorcing couples make it their policy to keep divorce conversations strictly in writing, which includes all the following options:

  • Emails

  • Texts

  • Written documents

  • Direct messaging and other forms of electronic communications

  • Co-parenting apps that include a messaging function

By confining your divorce communications to writing, you maintain an exact copy of what was said, which can help eliminate ambiguity and keep both parties honest.

If your divorce turns especially fiery and direct communication with your spouse only makes things worse, you can stick to communicating via your respective divorce attorneys, which can help keep things moving forward.

Don’t Put Your Kids in the Middle

No one sets out with the intention of throwing their children into the middle of their legal battles, but it can happen so gradually that you don’t recognize the problem. There is no denying that divorce is hard on children, and lessening the blow to the extent possible is always advised. Toward this end, avoid all the following behaviors:

  • Badmouthing your soon-to-be ex in front of your children

  • Communicating with your soon-to-be ex through your children

  • Sharing your emotional struggles regarding your divorce with your children

  • Having verbal battles with your soon-to-be ex while your children are present

  • Having your children spy on their other parent on your behalf or asking your children pointed questions about their other parent

  • Limiting your children’s communication with their other parent

  • Interfering with your divorcing spouse’s parenting time

Your children love both of you, and anything that makes them feel insecure about these primary relationships is painful. If you’re concerned that your divorcing spouse may be engaging in harmful practices, such as parental alienation, don’t hesitate to discuss the matter with your focused Killeen divorce attorney.

Don’t Lose Sight of Self-care

You’re going through a very difficult experience, and the stress of the situation can get in the way of self-care. While it’s only natural to focus on your children’s well-being, it’s important to pay attention to your own needs as well. All the following activities can help you manage divorce-related stress:

  • Surround yourself with family members and trusted friends who support you without judging you.

  • Seek the help you need from a counselor, support group, trusted clergy member, or a friend who is a great listener.

  • Don’t put your hobbies on hold. You don’t have to wait until your divorce is finalized to have a bit of fun. Getting out there and enjoying yourself from time to time can do you a world of good.

  • Don’t let things fall apart at home. Your children crave the security that familiar routines afford.

  • Remember that posting about your divorce on social media may feel good at the moment but is unlikely to do you any good in the long run and could actually harm your case – in addition to causing your children pain.

  • Turn to your savvy divorce attorney to help keep your divorce on an even keel and to help you make the right decisions for you throughout the process.

Be Well Prepared to Tackle the Terms of Your Divorce

Your divorce – like every other divorce – will boil down to resolving the terms that apply, and the more you know about each, the better positioned you’ll be to engage in meaningful negotiations that support your rights.

The Division of Marital Property

The assets and properties acquired during your marriage are all considered marital property, and who made the purchase or whose name is attached has no bearing on this designation. In Texas, marital assets are divided fairly between both spouses upon divorce.

The higher your assets, the more complex this division is likely to be. With greater awareness of your marital finances comes better positioning in terms of negotiations. It’s difficult to protect your financial rights if you’re not sure about what you’ve got in the first place, which makes doing some digging ahead of time an excellent plan.

A good place to start is making copies of your household’s primary financial documents, including each of your paystubs, current and past federal tax filings, investments, retirement accounts, and beyond. The more thorough you are, the better positioned you’ll be to stand up for your financial rights.

When your arguments are backed up by documentation, it makes it more difficult for things to reach a fever pitch and you help your trusted Killeen divorce attorney to ensure that your financial rights are well represented.

Child Custody Arrangements

Child custody has the potential to become as hotly contested as property division, but one of the main points to keep in mind is that Texas courts are guided by the children’s best interests.

Texas courts believe that children are better off when they spend a significant amount of time with each parent. One parent may become the primary custodial parent, which means having the children the majority of the time, but it’s unlikely that either parent will be cut out of the equation.

The children’s developmental stage and how well the current living situation serves their best interests both play primary roles in the court’s decision-making process – along with a range of additional best interest factors:

  • Each child’s age and overall mental and physical health

  • Each parent’s age and overall mental and physical health

  • Each child’s needs, including any special needs

  • Each parent’s ability to address the children’s needs effectively

  • Each parent’s commitment to effective co-parenting and to communicating openly with the other

  • The relationship each parent has forged with each child

  • The level of involvement each parent has had in raising the children so far

If your aim is becoming the primary custodial parent\, you’ll need to demonstrate that this arrangement is in your children’s best interests, which requires having a clear understanding of how the state’s best interest factors apply in your situation.

Child Support

In Texas, parents are required to provide their children with financial support until they reach the age of 18 or graduate from high school, whichever happens later. When the parents aren’t together, the state turns to child support payments, which the higher earner is generally responsible for making.


Alimony only applies to divorces that leave one spouse unable to cover his or her reasonable needs based on the standard of living achieved during the marriage. If you put your career on hold to stay home with the kids and support your spouse’s career, it can strengthen your case for alimony.

If you believe you’re entitled to alimony, the burden of proof is on you, and your formidable Killeen divorce attorney can help you pursue this goal.

Turn to an Experienced Killeen Divorce Attorney for the Help You Need

Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is an accomplished divorce lawyer who is committed to protecting his clients’ rights while moving their cases smoothly forward with as little turmoil as possible. We are on your side and here to help, so please don’t wait to contact us online or call us at (254) 781-4222 and schedule your FREE consultation today.

Related Reading

Related Posts
  • Military Divorce and the Survivor Benefit Plan Read More
  • How a Felony Conviction Can Affect Child Custody in Texas Read More
  • Texas Divorce Based on the Ground of Cruelty Read More