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Perhaps your best weapon in divorce: civility

The Michigan divorce process is not always tinged with amicability and good will between spouses, of course. After all, it is something less than matrimonial bliss that spurs a couple to end their marriage in the first place.

Soon-to-be exes often – and, candidly, with good reason – harbor some discontent and even anger when they commence divorce negotiations. The urge to make things hard for an impending ex sometimes leads to behavior that, while maybe momentarily satisfying, is ultimately injurious to a positive dissolution outcome.

“Divorce truly can bring out people’s worst instincts,” stresses a team of family law commentators in a recent Forbes article. Some participants in the process feel compelled to let off “a little of the steam.” That can manifest itself via “a snarky dig or two,” some negative social media comments directed toward a spouse, refusal to make nice in crafting a parenting plan or myriad other ways.

Here’s how that often plays out: Not only does such conduct stall divorce talks and embed them with rancor, but it often ends up hurting the person acting out the most.

In other words, the temporary enjoyment from lashing out can be akin to a self-inflicted wound. Failure to be at least relatively civil during the divorce process can be self-defeating.

The Forbes writers spotlight many examples where that is true. Appearing obstinate and unreasonable in front of a judge might lead to an adverse custody/visitation outcome that could otherwise have been avoided. Failure to be transparent concerning marital assets might spawn a negative financial impact. An individual who trashes a spouse on Facebook can appear mean and vindictive, leading a court to closely question motives and statements.

It often turns out to be the case that a good-faith focus on civility is a preeminent divorce strategy, especially for a spouse inclined to act otherwise.