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Should you treat your ex like a colleague?

Divorce-related issues like child custody, property division and alimony have a tremendous impact on our families and emotional well-being. As such, disputes involving these matters often become bitter and contentious.

While it is not realistic to take all strong feelings out of these situations, there may be opportunities to minimize the toll that divorce-related emotions take by choosing how you resolve them. One way to do this might be to interact with your ex as you would interact with a co-worker in a few different scenarios.

When you are co-parenting

Co-parenting requires parents to work toward the same goal (raising children) separately, which is similar to the requirements of people who work together. You can prevent disputes by treating the other parent like a co-worker. In other words, be respectful and polite but avoid overly personal interactions and keep discussions focused on relevant matters.

When you are negotiating property division

Dividing assets is an unavoidable and painful part of divorce. However, you don't have to let your emotions control this situation if you approach it from a business perspective. Focus on the facts, support your requests with data and be prepared to negotiate.

Whenever you communicate

If your ex is volatile or unreliable, keep track of your conversations in the same way you would cover your bases at work. Be sure to get changes, requests and agreements in writing; avoid making inflammatory statements; keep track of any problems or troubling behavior during your exchanges.

Be in the business of protecting yourself

Again, family legal issues are often incredibly stressful and emotional, and it is unrealistic to assume you can avoid the feelings people have in these situations and approach them from a strictly business or professional perspective. However, you can change the way you interact with your ex in order to preserve your own emotional well-being.

Whether this seems doable or not in your situation, remember that you do not have navigate any family legal matter alone. You can work with an attorney who is experienced in resolving complicated legal issues and understands the emotional toll such situations take on a person. 

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