How to avoid a toxic divorce: 3 tips

In a perfect world, partners who choose to divorce may also decide to take the high road. Once two-level heads are equally involved in the divorce process, getting a divorce in Canada would be civil and brief. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world, and if your spouse is an outright narcissist or has a high-conflict personality, your world might feel so far removed from the perfect one. There is only one word for such divorce – toxic.

Protecting yourself from that toxicity and the possible fallout of dealing with a high-conflict partner requires smart thinking. Keep in mind that you're not divorcing a regular person, and the usual rules of having a divorce may not apply. This is because many high conflict people feel entitled to do nearly anything to win. In this case, you should learn what to expect and develop strategies to protect your rights and interests. Here are tips to avoid a toxic divorce.

Hire an experienced divorce lawyer

You do not need a lawyer who is aggressive for the sake of being aggressive. Instead, it would help if you had a divorce lawyer who is intelligent, assertive, and strategic. He or she should know how to protect clients from toxicity. Most people are very good at concealing or hiding their toxicity in public or in front of a judge. Your divorce lawyer Toronto should know how to reveal the truth about what you have endured.

Get everything in writing

Suppose in-person conversations and phone calls with your ex-spouse end up in shouting matches. In that case, it is recommended to limit communication to written forms only, such as messages sent between your lawyers. Written communication in a toxic divorce serves as a record and can be used in court whenever necessary.

Besides, the process of writing is somewhat reflective. It can help a high-conflict person rethink their words, and this could lower instances of heated conversations. Some divorcing spouses even have it explicitly stated in their parenting arrangement that communication between the parents should be written except in cases of emergency.

Gather the right financial paperwork

Many high conflict people may be unwilling to share their financial paperwork required for the calculation of child support, property division, and spousal support. Examples of financial paperwork include bank statements, tax returns, pay stubs, credit card bills, retirement account information, stock portfolio, and more. In some cases, your spouse may hide such documents and assets as a way of revenge or controlling you.

To head off this behavior, it is in your best interest to collect as much financial information as possible long before you file for divorce. You can try running a credit report to identify various financial accounts open in your name and that of your spouse. If you have been filing taxes jointly, it is possible to request a copy of your tax return information from the CRA. This information may clue you in about possible hidden financial and non-financial assets.

Other tips to avoid toxic divorce involve leaving your children out of heated conversions and obtaining a restraining order, particularly if your ex-spouse is stalking or harassing you.

Photo: Pixabay