Dealing with an Unpredictable Partner during Divorce: Tips from Top Divorce Attorneys 

July 17, 2023

Divorce can be an emotionally and mentally draining process, especially when one partner is unpredictable and difficult to reason with. To make matters worse, it’s often hard to get advice on the best way to handle a challenging partner. Thankfully, divorce attorneys and mediators are here to help. Through their years of experience, top divorce attorneys and mediators have identified some of the best ways to reason with an unstable partner during divorce.


In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the top tips from divorce attorneys and mediators on how to handle an unpredictable partner during divorce. Divorce is rarely an easy process, and it can be especially challenging when dealing with an unpredictable partner. The emotions and financial burden of a divorce can be overwhelming, and having a difficult or unstable partner only adds to the stress. Fortunately, there are ways to make the situation more manageable, and that's why it's important to seek the advice of a divorce attorney and consider options such as divorce mediation. Read on for tips from top divorce attorneys on how to handle an unpredictable partner during divorce proceedings. 


Understanding the Dynamics of an Unstable Partner during Divorce


Divorce can be a challenging time, even more so if you are dealing with an unpredictable or unstable partner. An unstable ex can cause stress, anxiety, and even fear. You want peace during this tumultuous time, but your partner's erratic behavior can make it seem impossible. 

It's essential to understand the dynamics of an unstable partner during divorce to deal with the situation effectively. The first step is to recognize the signs of instability, such as aggressive behavior, mood swings, threats, and controlling actions.


Unstable partners often have a heightened emotional state and may react in extreme ways. They may be erratic, unpredictable, and difficult to reason with, making it hard to come to an agreement on critical issues such as property division and child custody.


One of the biggest challenges of dealing with an unstable partner during divorce is the impact it can have on your emotions. It's normal to feel frustrated, overwhelmed, or angry. But it's crucial not to let those emotions control you. It's easy to become defensive and react to your partner's behavior. Still, this can escalate the situation and make things worse.


Want peace? Take a step back and try to be objective about the situation. Try to see things from your partner's perspective. Even though you may disagree with them, understanding their point of view can help you come up with a solution that works for both of you.


Another aspect of understanding the dynamics of an unstable partner is acknowledging their mental state. An unstable ex may be struggling with mental health issues that exacerbate their behavior. Recognizing this and encouraging them to seek professional help may improve their behavior during the divorce.


In summary, dealing with an unstable partner during divorce requires understanding the dynamics of their behavior. Recognizing their signs of instability, taking a step back to see things objectively, and acknowledging their mental state can help you approach the situation with a calm and collected demeanor. 


Communicating Effectively with an Unpredictable Partner


One of the biggest challenges in dealing with an unpredictable partner during a divorce is communicating effectively. You may find yourself in situations where your ex-partner becomes angry or emotional, making it difficult to have a civil conversation. However, it's important to remember that effective communication is crucial in achieving a peaceful divorce settlement.

Here are some tips to help you communicate effectively with your unstable ex:


1. Stay calm and collected: It's essential to remain calm, even when your partner becomes agitated. Remember that their emotional outbursts are not a reflection of you but rather their own internal struggles. Avoid getting into a shouting match or reacting to their accusations. Take deep breaths, and respond in a composed manner.


2. Listen to their concerns: Even if your ex-partner's behavior seems irrational or unreasonable, it's important to listen to their concerns. Try to put yourself in their shoes and understand their perspective. This will help you respond more effectively and empathetically.


3. Use "I" statements: Instead of blaming or accusing your partner, use "I" statements to express your feelings and concerns. For example, instead of saying "You never listen to me," say "I feel unheard and ignored when we talk."


4. Stick to the facts: It's easy to get emotional during a divorce, but it's essential to stick to the facts when communicating with your ex-partner. Avoid making assumptions or speculating on their intentions. Stick to what you know, and avoid making generalizations.


5. Establish boundaries: If your ex-partner becomes verbally abusive or aggressive, it's important to establish boundaries and protect yourself. You have the right to end the conversation or leave the room if you feel threatened. Make it clear that you will not tolerate any abusive behavior.


Want peace, not drama:


Ultimately, your goal should be to achieve a peaceful divorce settlement that benefits both parties. By communicating effectively with your unpredictable ex-partner, you can minimize drama and create a more positive outcome. Remember, divorce is not easy, but it doesn't have to be an endless battle. With the right mindset and communication strategies, you can achieve a more amicable and satisfactory resolution for everyone involved. 


Creating Boundaries and Protecting Yourself During a Divorce


Divorce can be a tumultuous and emotionally charged time for both parties involved, especially if one partner is unstable and unpredictable. In order to protect yourself during this difficult period, it's important to create clear boundaries and stick to them. Here are some tips from top divorce attorneys on how to protect yourself during a divorce:


1. Avoid Confrontation: If you know that your partner is unstable or unpredictable, it's important to avoid confrontation at all costs. This means not engaging in arguments or verbal exchanges that could potentially escalate into physical altercations. 

2. Limit Communication: If you are able to communicate with your partner, it's important to limit communication to only what is necessary. Avoid discussing personal matters or engaging in conversations that could trigger emotional reactions.


3. Protect Your Privacy: It's important to protect your privacy during a divorce. This means not sharing sensitive information or discussing personal matters with anyone other than your attorney or trusted advisor.

4. Secure Your Assets: If you are concerned that your partner may attempt to take or destroy your assets, it's important to take steps to secure them. This may include opening a separate bank account or moving valuables to a secure location.


5. Seek Legal Advice: If you are unsure about how to protect yourself during a divorce, it's important to seek legal advice. A divorce attorney can provide guidance and support, helping you to navigate the process and protect your interests.


In addition to these tips, it's important to take care of yourself during a divorce. This may include seeking therapy or counseling to help manage your emotions and navigate the challenges of the divorce process. Remember, you are not alone and there are resources available to help you through this difficult time. 


What can you not do in a divorce in California?


Divorce can be a highly emotional and overwhelming experience, particularly when you are dealing with an unpredictable or unstable partner. It is easy to feel frustrated, angry, and hopeless when facing a contentious divorce. But it is crucial to remember that certain actions can have significant legal consequences and can impact the outcome of your divorce proceedings. In California, there are specific things that you cannot do during a divorce. 


Here are some of the things that you should avoid doing during a divorce in California: 


1. Hiding assets 


One of the most significant mistakes that you can make during a divorce is trying to hide assets from your partner. This is not only unethical, but it is also illegal. California is a community property state, which means that all assets and debts acquired during the marriage are split 50/50. Hiding assets can lead to significant legal penalties and can also make it harder for you to negotiate a fair settlement.


2. Violating restraining orders 


If there is a restraining order in place during your divorce, it is essential to follow it strictly. This means avoiding all contact with your partner, staying away from their residence and workplace, and refraining from any behavior that could be considered threatening or harassing. Violating a restraining order can result in criminal charges and may negatively affect your divorce proceedings.


3. Denying your partner visitation or custody 


If you have children with your partner, denying them visitation or custody rights can be a serious legal mistake. The court's priority is always the best interests of the children, and denying access to a parent can lead to legal penalties and even a change in custody arrangements.


4. Neglecting your legal obligations 


Divorce proceedings require a lot of paperwork, and it is essential to complete and file all necessary documents accurately and on time. Neglecting your legal obligations, such as failing to attend court hearings, missing deadlines, or ignoring court orders, can negatively impact your divorce proceedings and even lead to legal penalties.


5. Spreading lies or rumors 


During a divorce, it is common for emotions to run high, and it can be tempting to spread lies or rumors about your partner to gain an advantage. However, this behavior can be detrimental to your case. Spreading false information or rumors can lead to legal repercussions, such as defamation suits or the loss of credibility in court. 


How to speak effectively during a divorce


Going through a divorce can be a very emotional and stressful time, and it can be difficult to navigate communication with your partner, especially if they are unpredictable and unstable. However, it's important to communicate effectively during a divorce in order to achieve a fair and equitable resolution. In this section, we'll share some tips on how to speak effectively during a divorce.


1. Avoid Blaming and Accusations:


During a divorce, it's important to focus on finding solutions rather than playing the blame game. Avoid making accusations and placing blame on your partner, as this can lead to further tension and hostility. Instead, focus on identifying the issues that need to be resolved and finding solutions that work for both parties.


2. Practice Active Listening:


One of the keys to effective communication during a divorce is active listening. This means paying attention to what your partner is saying and acknowledging their feelings, even if you don't agree with them. It's important to give your partner space to express their thoughts and feelings, and to show that you are willing to listen to their perspective.


3. Use "I" Statements: 

Using "I" statements instead of "you" statements can help to avoid conflict during a divorce. "I" statements express how you feel about a situation without placing blame on your partner. For example, instead of saying "you never listen to me," you could say "I feel frustrated when I don't feel heard."


4. Be Clear and Concise:


When communicating with an unstable partner during a divorce, it's important to be clear and concise in your messaging. Avoid using vague language or beating around the bush, as this can lead to confusion and misunderstandings. Instead, be direct and specific in your communication.


5. Stay Calm and Collected:


Dealing with an unpredictable and unstable partner during a divorce can be challenging, but it's important to remain calm and collected in your communication. Avoid reacting to your partner's outbursts or emotional outbursts, as this can escalate the situation. Instead, take a deep breath and respond in a calm and rational manner.


In summary, effective communication is key when dealing with an unstable partner during a divorce. By avoiding blame and accusations, practicing active listening, using "I" statements, being clear and concise, and staying calm and collected, you can navigate the communication challenges of a divorce with grace and compassion. Remember that the ultimate goal is to achieve a fair and equitable resolution, and effective communication is an important part of reaching that goal.

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This material is provided for educational purposes only. Providing this information does not establish an attorney/client relationship. None of the information contained in this newsletter should be acted upon without first consulting with an attorney. Should you have questions about the content of this newsletter, please arrange to discuss via a consultation.