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Verbal and emotional abuse: Mistakes to avoid in a Texas divorce

It is easy to encounter roadblocks if you begin down the road towards divorce. Many of these barriers are entirely out of your control and must still be dealt with. In some areas, however, it is possible that you can create your difficulties along the way and become your own worst enemy. With as many elements to divorce as possible, it is easy to create a nightmare divorce case for yourself.

One of the common areas that I see people struggle during a divorce is emotional and verbally abusive behavior. When I mention this to you, images of you and your spouse bickering at each other with your foreheads only an inch apart may spring to mind. While it is possible that you all could act like this (I've seen it happen, trust me), it isn't exactly what I had in mind when I came up with the idea to write this blog.

Your behavior during your divorce is tied closely to your emotional well-being, the emotional well-being of your child, and your financial strength in the years after your divorce concludes. If you can control your emotions, work with your spouse instead of against them and manage your expectations, it is possible that your divorce could end up being a challenging but manageable affair.

However, if you cannot control your behavior and emotions and let them rule your case, you are setting yourself up for a long and very taxing divorce case for yourself, your spouse, and most importantly, for your children. Let's examine how verbal and emotionally abusive behavior can take its toll during your divorce.

Exhibiting demanding behavior while offering nothing in return

In your line of work, do you ever have to deal with a person who expects you to bend over backward for her? Every request she makes of you is made to offer her solutions to her problems while you and yours are the farthest things from her mind. Does this person's attitude make you want to work more with her or never see her again?

I'm willing to bet that we all know someone like this- whether it is in our professional or personal lives. No matter where we know them from, the result is that when we see them walking down the hallway at work towards us or see their name pop up on our caller ID, our reaction is the same- to recoil, roll our eyes or do some combination of the two. Either way- we do not want anything to do with this person and will do whatever it takes to minimize the time we have to be around them.

No matter how you feel about your spouse or what they have done to merit this divorce, going into a divorce with this same kind of demanding, take no prisoners approach will spell doom for any chance of completing your divorce with minimal cost and emotional output.

The fact is that if you do not put on your negotiating hat early and often during your divorce, the feeling will be returned in kind by your spouse. Meaning: if you don't attempt to negotiate and settle the critical issues of your case, pretty soon, your spouse will act in the same way no matter their intentions at the beginning of your divorce.

When you communicate your positions to your spouse, explain yourself with details about why you are asking for the things you are or taking the positions you are. If you state your arguments in terms of demands, your spouse will do the same.

Demands will often result in additional and steeper demands. This behavior will escalate, and before you know it, your divorce that could have been somewhat amicable has been turned into a war of words.

Negotiating while explaining your motivations to your spouse is an excellent method to begin your case. Your spouse can learn why you ask for something instead of making assumptions. Assumptions can sometimes be correct, but you can bet that during a contentious divorce, your spouse will not likely assume that you have the best of intentions on a subject, even if you do.

Explaining your motivations behind asking for something in particular during a divorce from the perspective of what it can mean to your children is especially smart. This is because no matter how your spouse feels about you or your divorce, you two likely share the best interests of your children in common.

If you believe that doing something is in the best interests of your children, make sure your spouse is aware of that. They may not have looked at it from that perspective.

Attempting to exact some emotional revenge against your spouse

If you are going through a divorce, you are likely hurting somehow. Typically it is emotional hurt, and sometimes it can even be a physical pain you feel. There is no excuse for your spouse treating you poorly or being physically violent for you. Your spouse cannot justify their past behavior, nor can their attorney.

In your mind, you may want to have your attorney throw the book at your spouse when it comes to airing whatever grievances you have against them. Your Divorce Petition could be littered with accusations about immoral acts of your spouse, and a temporary orders hearing or trial can be just another opportunity to swing an emotionally heavy stick at your spouse in public to embarrass or get even with them. It can feel good to do this. To feel like you've settled a score or evened things out.

From my experience, this feeling is only temporary. When you have an opportunity to step back and assess what has happened in your case, you will probably regret having taken whatever steps you did to humiliate your spouse. This is true even if your spouse engaged in similar behavior against you.

Why do I think you won't feel too great about engaging in tit for tat behavior with your spouse and embarrassing them in public? If you are taking the time to read a family law blog, you are most likely the sort of person who looks for any opportunity you can to better yourself and your family.

Ask yourself then- are you bettering your case or yourself by attempting to sling mud? There are certainly instances where making a judge aware of your spouse's destructive acts is appropriate. However, those circumstances are fewer and more far between than you may think.

Given the opportunity, it is OK to address these issues in a private setting like mediation rather than dragging yourself and your spouse through a contested court appearance. You are unlikely to get closure on the issues you want in court or mediation. Still, you can address the issues head-on without the risk of creating an emotionally toxic environment surrounding them.

Mediation allows you to manage yourself and your case by removing the variables of a courtroom and a judge's opinions. Keep in mind that tearing an emotional pound of flesh from your spouse may feel good, but it does not often result in a better outcome for the emotional victory.

Questions about avoiding emotionally or verbally abusive situations in divorce? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC

Every divorce takes on a life of its own. Having competent, experienced, and tenacious family law attorneys by your side can make all the difference in your case. The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, offer decades of collective experience in advocating for southeast Texas families.

To learn more about our office and to have your questions answered, please contact us today. A free-of-charge consultation is available with one of our licensed family law attorneys six days a week.


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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's essential to speak with one of our Houston, TX, Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our divorce lawyers in Houston, TX, are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, handles Divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.

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