Destructive Behaviors to Avoid During Divorce

Lawyer Signing Degree of Divorce
December 17, 2019
|   updated:
July 26, 2023

By the age of 50 years-old, over 90 percent of people living in the United States get married. Yet the American Psychological Association estimates that 40 to 50 percent of those marriages end in divorce.

Cases involving divorce nearly always require the assistance of Family Law attorneys. When alcohol abuse is present in the case as well, the situation becomes even more complex. Practicing law for over three decades, Nancy D. Kellman, firm owner, seasoned litigator, and American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Fellow, has seen these conflicts take place time and time again. With such frequent exposure to Family Law cases, Kellman has an insider viewpoint on the damaging behaviors that should be avoided during divorce.

Harmful Acts to Evade and How to Circumvent Them

The do’s and don’ts of divorce are difficult to maneuver for everyone involved, but actively seeking to avoid destructive behaviors can help alleviate some of the hardship during the process.

Failing to Communicate

Forcing two parties who don’t wish to remain married to communicate during their divorce naturally can result in communication struggles. Being forced to speak to one another during this trying process can further exacerbate the issue. Communication is vital in court proceedings and failing to talk to one another might put up unnecessary roadblocks in an already demanding situation.

What can help: Lines of communication between the two parties must remain open. For this to happen, the parties may need to be encouraged by family members, friends, or a therapist. Accountability is key. Group or individual therapy, or other forms of communication practice can be a powerful tool in learning how to express emotions.

Letting Emotions Take Control

On the opposite end of failing to communicate, emotional arguments often occur during a proceeding across a broad range of issues: custody, bills, requesting documents, etc. Emotions may run especially high in custody and alcohol cases, but emotional outbursts could jeopardize the case for either side. While it’s an exceptionally stressful situation, attempting to keep feelings under control can help suppress the overall distress present in the case.

What can help: Mental health therapy can foster the ability to manage emotions. Seeking therapy can benefit both parties involved in divorce, as processing difficult emotions can help to keep them focused, as long as each works to make a positive change. “People tend to engage in therapy, but that is only as good as they are willing to make it,” says Kellman. For those that put in the effort in a professional setting, managing emotions can be significantly easier to approach when facing conflict in the courtroom.

Neglecting the Best Interest of the Child

Divorce cases involving children are often fraught with many varying emotions, from grief to jealousy to anger. Having to navigate what’s in the best interest of the child while going through a divorce can, unfortunately, lead to high amounts of stress, or even neglect, in the child’s life.

What can help: To mitigate this issue in the face of divorce, parents can practice conflict avoidance in the presence of their children, allow for the court to conduct evaluations. Being mindful of how the situation might be affecting children involved is an essential step in avoiding destructive behavior. In cases where alcohol abuse is present, agreeing to alcohol monitoring can also help put the best interests of the child first, allowing parents to prove their sobriety while continuing to spend time with their kids.

Not Seeking Help for Parties Experiencing Alcohol Abuse

Going through a divorce while simultaneously abusing alcohol is a time of exceptional strain. These individuals are more likely to get divorced, but amid divorce, help can still be sought. Choosing not to pursue sobriety can cause the situation to spiral even further, negatively affecting children, family, friends, and anyone else involved. “It is a frequent issue that parents struggle with and is addressed when dealing with custody and access,” Kellman says of her cases.

What can help: Attending group therapy, working with a recovery coach, and using an alcohol monitoring system can all support an individual and their entire family on their journey to sobriety.

Clients use Soberlink, a remote alcohol monitoring device, from the comfort of their home, allowing them to choose when they submit their tests. “One of the benefits of Soberlink is accountability, and to enable parents to have access to their children, assuming they are proving sobriety with their Soberlink device. I think it is also important that this device is used in conjunction with other support, whether it is AA or other self-help groups, or even therapy” Kellman expands.

During a divorce, most actions performed by either party tend to ripple through the entire case. With the right steps, the emotional impact of that behavior can be restructured into less complicated instances. During this tumultuous time, learn more about the tools available to help gain control and make the process as smooth as possible.

About the Author

Soberlink supports accountability for sobriety through a comprehensive alcohol monitoring system. Combining a breathalyzer with wireless connectivity, the portable design and technology includes facial recognition, tamper detection and real-time reporting. Soberlink proves sobriety with reliability to foster trust and peace of mind.

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