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Setting healthy boundaries during your divorce

On Behalf of | Jun 25, 2024 | Divorce

A lot of divorces end up being highly conflictual. The stress of the process can invade every nook and cranny of your life, too, making it difficult to live your daily life. While you might be tempted to rush through your divorce to put it all to rest, doing so can put you at risk of conceding on key legal issues that have a tremendous impact on your future. So, instead of hurrying through the process so that you don’t have to deal with your spouse anymore, it might be helpful to set some boundaries during your divorce.

How can you set healthy boundaries during the marriage dissolution process?

This can certainly be tricky to do, especially as your divorce can quickly become the most overwhelming thing in your life at the time. But here are some steps that might help the divorce process go more smoothly and separate the process from your everyday life:

  • Limit the scope and the method of communication with your spouse: If you allow your spouse to communicate with you however they see fit, then they’ll control the communications from the get-go. As a result, you may end up having more face-to-face and telephone conversations than you’re comfortable with, which can be problematic because these modes of communication are hard to control. So, if it’ll be beneficial to you, tell your spouse that you’ll only communicate about divorce-related issues and only through written means. Stay direct, on point, and brief in these communications when needed to reduce conflict and maintain boundaries.
  • Figure out how to handle bills: You and your spouse probably have jointly held debt, meaning that you’re both on the hook for paying it. If you don’t decide how to handle those bills while your divorce is pending, then you could fall behind on them and face financial consequences. But you also don’t want to make assumptions about who will pay those bills, as doing so could lead to conflict. So, reach out to your spouse and set clear boundaries around how these expenses will be handled.
  • Have a plan for your children: Early on after you and your spouse separate you should develop a plan for your children. Where will they stay? With whom will they live? What will visitation look like? The sooner you can answer these questions the less likely they are to devolve into heated disputes. This, in turn, can create a firm boundary that you and your spouse can hopefully live with.
  • Be firm: Your spouse might try to push you around in your divorce, thereby disrupting any boundaries that you’ve put in place. Don’t cave into their demands. Instead, be firm in your positions while being respectful, that way you protect your own mental health and other aspects of your life throughout the process.
  • Be consistent: Once you’ve established boundaries, be consistent with them. Don’t let your spouse intrude upon them, otherwise they become pointless.
  • Focus on yourself and your children: You might be tempted to delve into your spouse’s personal life or receive advice from family members and friends, but you need to set boundaries so that you can focus on you. Think about your future and what you want out of it and change the subject when you start to receive unsolicited and unwanted advice.
  • Set ground rules: If your spouse is willing to listen, you may be able to create some ground rules that both of you can live with. This so, this may be the most effective way to set boundaries that protect you throughout your divorce proceedings.

Find the best path forward in your divorce

There are a million different ways to approach your divorce. You have to find the one that’s right for your future and your mental well-being. That might sound hard to do, but you just have to be honest with yourself about what you want out of the process. And don’t be scared to stand up for yourself. This is the time to advocate for yourself. If that’s something that you think you’ll struggle with, don’t worry. You can find help fighting for what you deserve.