Rarely is divorce ever peaceful, however, some divorces are much more contentious than others. Spouses that are toxic when in the relationship are likely to show these same behaviors, but even more prominently, if you divorce them. Toxic people may do or say things that purposefully upset the other, undermine the progress of the divorce, and make the split more difficult than it needs to be. If you anticipate that your divorce will be riddled with conflict, there are ways you can deal with a toxic spouse that reduces your stress level and helps you focus on what you can control. 

A soon-to-be ex spouse that is intent on making your life miserable may go to extensive lengths to bring you down. They may spread lies about you, threaten to take all the money, or pin your children between you. Despite the chaos happening around you and in your relationships right now, the best thing you can do in a toxic divorce is avoid responding to behavior that is offensive or manipulative. Those who are concerned for their safety or have a spouse with a history of abuse must contact law enforcement and a lawyer immediately.

If you are going through a particularly troublesome divorce, it is important to seek assistance from a lawyer as soon as possible. Divorces that are contentious or toxic may build up and become aggressive or violent. Do your best to refrain from responding to your ex’s attempts at provoking you. Here are signs that your spouse is the cause of a toxic divorce:

  • They make you feel doubtful about your thoughts and feelings
  • They are trying to control you in some way
  • They are overly critical 
  • They are trying to pin family members or friends against you
  • They are completely void of compassion or empathy
  • They are lying to you and maybe doing so just to make your life more difficult

Think of it this way, the less you stoop to your ex’s level of behavior, the more they will be seen as the one to blame. Your spouse’s terrible behavior now will come back around to them, as the judge probably won’t smile upon someone who has intentionally made divorce difficult or outright abusive. Keep records of text messages, social media posts, voicemails, emails, or any other forms of communication. You can present this as evidence of your spouse engaging in threatening or violating behaviors, especially if there is an order against them.

As our divorce lawyer associates from Bernie Kempen have also seen before, divorces can quickly become volatile. This is even more true if one or both spouses are exhibiting hurtful behaviors. Remember that every time your spouse is being toxic, this is just more evidence to use against them, which can help tip the divorce outcome in your favor.