Last Updated: December 22, 2022
The divorce process is not easy for anyone involved and it can bring out the worst in some people. Divorcing an angry spouse can make the process even more difficult to handle. One or both spouses may express a range of emotions including anger. An irate spouse can be more difficult to deal with than an individual experiencing any other emotion. Though most couples are not prepared for their marriage to end, the emotional transition involved need not be an unpleasant one. To learn how to navigate divorcing your angry spouse, speak to one of our divorce experts today for a 100% free consultation!
Divorcing an Angry Spouse: Emotional Stages
Blaming the spouse is the first stage of divorce and the individual who initiates the divorce typically experiences this first. During this stage, the initiator blames the partner for problems in their shared life. Most spouses focus on the past, causing them to relive issues experienced earlier in the marriage. When the non-initiator is told that the marriage is ending, he or she may become focused on resisting the divorce.
What follows is a period of mourning that acknowledges the end of the marital union. After this, anger that has been brewing since the divorce was announced sometimes comes to a head. This anger is typically directed toward the other spouse and can be very upsetting to relatives and friends who are unfortunate enough to witness the outbursts. One spouse feels wronged and believes that the other deserves to suffer because he or she is bad. Divorcing an angry spouse can upset children by having a rage-filled reaction whenever the name of the other spouse is mentioned (this needs to be avoided in front of the kids).
Agreed Divorces (and the Angry Spouse)
Anger is not limited to a contested divorce situation. It is also experienced during an agreed divorce. According to leading psychiatrists, this feeling of anger is cover for a variety of fears. Angry spouses worry about how they will live alone, whether they can support themselves, and whether they will find new partners. This negative energy should be channeled in a productive way, taking the focus off the other spouse and turning it toward long-term goals of the individual.
A divorce lawyer, mediator, and anyone else who provides expert divorce help has been through many adversarial situations. These professionals know how to diffuse the anger and direct the related energy into making decisions required during divorce. They keep their clients focused on the positive outcomes from a long-term perspective and provide a reality check whenever emotions get out of hand. Unfortunately for some people that are contemplating divorcing an angry spouse, some states have enacted or are currently enacting long waiting periods to get divorced, which may complicate matters even further. These states typically have exceptions to these waiting period rules to make it easier if the parties can agree. But if you are divorcing an angry spouse, finding agreement is typically not something that is going to happen without an expert divorce lawyer on your side.
Dealing With an Angry Spouse During Divorce
Divorcing an angry spouse can be challenging and emotionally painful. Here are some tips for managing the angry spouse situation:
- Take care of yourself: Although you might not think of it, it is essential to prioritize your own well-being and mental health during your divorce. Get enough rest, eat healthy, and engage in physical activities that help you relax and recharge your mind and body.
- Setting boundaries: It is perfectly okay to set limits on what you are willing to tolerate. You can let your spouse know that you want to communicate and work through issues, but that you will not put up with abusive or aggressive behavior.
- Seek support: Having a support system of friends, family, or a therapist to talk to about your feelings and experiences is essential. Find a trusted advisor and share with him/her so you can vent and unload the stresses that come with divorcing an angry spouse.
- Effective Communication: Try to use “I” statements to express your own feelings and needs, rather than simply blaming your spouse. Do your best to avoid raising your voice, yelling, or otherwise engaging in escalating a hostile argument or situation whenever possible.
- Mediation: If you are can’t effectively communicate with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, you may want to think about seeking the help of a mediator. A licensed mediator can help facilitate communication and agreement and help you and your spouse reach mutually-beneficial agreements (or at least narrow the contested issues in a safe environment).
It’s important to remember that it’s normal to feel a range of emotions when divorcing an angry spouse, and it’s okay to seek help if you need it.
Spousal Abuse and Divorce
If your relationship was one that had abuse present, it is important to immediately put your safety first. It is never okay for someone (like your spouse) to physically, emotionally, or sexually abuse you.
If you are in immediate danger, call 911 and get safe. If you are not in immediate danger, but are concerned about your safety, there are resources available to help you such as domestic violence shelters and even may local churches. These organizations often provide support and guidance, as well as help you develop a safety plan to get out of the relationship if that is what you decide is best for you and your family.
Eventually, an angry spouse will become a self-supporting individual. An increased level of self-esteem and self-trust and the improved ability to make decisions are several post-divorce outcomes. Parenting and the future will become the focus and life will settle into a “new normal” in which the individual is in control. Speaking with our team of divorce attorneys for a free consultation is your first step to divorcing your spouse with as little anger as possible.