Is it realistic to expect cooperation from your ex-spouse?

The situation that most often requires cooperation from ex-spouses after a divorce is a visitation plan. However, there are other examples, such as selling jointly held real estate or continuing the management of a family business.

In each of these examples, a recent column advises couples to remember that they are in service to something bigger than a past relationship. In fact, some couples may even find that they are able to work together better after a divorce, once relationship issues are removed from the equation.

Yet how can divorced individuals get to this place of objectivity? An experienced family law and divorce attorney can be a great resource. An attorney who is familiar with the entire process of divorce will remind individuals that the filing will not provide closure in itself. Rather, individuals must work to develop a transition plan for their financial and emotional stability after the divorce.

An attorney can also help an individual decide whether it makes sense to sell jointly held real estate. This forward focus may also be an effective tool in getting over emotional distractions or the temptation to assign blame. Indeed, from a legal perspective, a no-fault marriage filing renders moot any assignment of blame.

Finally, an attorney can also be a wise sounding board in developing realistic parenting plans. Trying to coordinate the schedules of two busy adults can be a challenge. However, cooperation can again ease this process. A couple’s history may serve as short hand when needed, helping them to improvise solutions for last-minute scheduling changes.

Source: Washington Post, "Podcast: Divorce done well. How to be an excellent ex.," Lisa Bonos, April 14, 2016