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5 triggers that make divorce harder

The ethos of the family team here at Picasso Legal is very much geared to helping clients divorce peacefully and amicably.  We mention this at the first appointment with every new client and it is sometimes met with scepticism.  Oh, they all like the idea, they just have a hard time believing it can last.

Or, they start out amicable saying that they’re not going to be like the stereotypical divorcing couple because they are well adjusted adults that respect each other and both want the same outcome.  But somewhere down the line, something happens, one of them gets upset or angry and things turn ugly.

So that you can try to avoid them, here are some of the triggers for ugliness in what starts as an amicable divorce.

1. One spouse discovers the other is dating

This has to be the main cause for upset.  Even if they wanted the divorce, or were even the party to initiate proceedings, when their soon-to-be-ex starts seeing someone else, they get disproportionately indignant, angry and upset whilst denying jealousy.  They start wondering whether they had actually been rejected and manipulated into the breakup.

2. One spouse is told by a friend that the other was unfaithful during the marriage

Oh this one hurts.  A lot.  Post-breakup gossip happens a lot. It is never helpful. Secrets such as this are usually revealed because it will help them “move on” or because “it doesn’t matter anymore”.  But it doesn’t (help them move on) and it does (matter).

3. Friends and family start being negative about the spouse

They seem to think that they need to take sides and that talking negatively about a spouse will help someone feel positive about not being in a relationship any more.  “I wouldn’t waste your time and thoughts on her if I were youor “He always treated you like a piece of rubbish” are commonly-voiced sentiments.  The soon-to-be-divorced starts feeling like it isn’t normal to still like or respect their spouse - like they ought to hate them or something.

4. One spouse is advised to seek more money

We know that a solicitor is perfectly placed to inadvertently cause animosity.  Most of us try not to but many a solicitor has ruined an agreement that was reached by two consenting adults because they think that one of them should have more money from the split.  He or she believed that they were just doing their job.  Of course, you must listen to your solicitor’s advice but be careful when you choose your adviser and make sure you trust them to maintain amicable relations as well as considering the legal aspects of your split.

5. Someone gets scared

At some point, reality sets in and someone gets freaked out.  The fight or flight response kicks in and, since they can’t run away from this, they start to fight.  This can make them impatient and unkind.  

How to avoid these?  Try really, really hard not to get emotional (I know: easier said than done!).  Sometimes it’s beyond your control and all you can do is remember that, eventually, you’ll be done with this divorce and the pressure will be off.

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Lisa Pickering

Family Law Solicitor

I am a specialist solicitor dealing with family issues, usually on relationship breakdown. This may mean working with separating couples, dealing with divorce and financial practicalities or with separated parents who want to organise their responsibilities to the children. I always help clients try to avoid court proceedings.
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