Why you shouldn't make your divorce about revenge

Often when couples divorce, one or both has considerable anger toward the other. Perhaps there was infidelity. Maybe one spouse was secretly depleting the couple's shared finances. One spouse may not have shared in the parenting responsibilities.

Whatever the issue, spouses may see the divorce as an opportunity to get revenge. However, as one New York City divorce attorney points out, that's not what divorce is for. She details several reasons why divorce shouldn't be about revenge.

First of all, revenge isn't healthy. It only extends the length of time a person is consumed by anger and other negative feelings. One study found that when people don't act on their feelings of revenge, they're better able to get over the situation they are angry about and heal.

If you turn your need for revenge into a long, costly divorce, you're hurting yourself financially and emotionally. You're drawing out the unhealthy relationship with your spouse rather than moving on. You're also inviting retaliation from your spouse, which will only exacerbate the situation.

Your spouse's wrongdoing likely isn't going to impact the outcome of the divorce. Judges have heard just about everything. With "no-fault" divorce becoming more common, courts are less likely to look at who did what to whom and simply determine a fair settlement and child custody issues, if there are kids.

If you have kids, it's even more essential that you don't make divorce about revenge. No matter how much you hate your co-parent, unless he or she is a danger to your children, you can't deny custody and visitation rights, nor should you turn your children against their other parent. Remember that you and your ex will always be co-parents, whether you like it or not. You need to find a way to get along for your kids' sake.

If you can't get past your feelings of anger toward your spouse, your family law attorney can likely recommend a therapist or support group in your area to help you deal with those feelings. That way, they won't get in the way of working to build a new life for yourself and your family.

Source: The Good Men Project, "5 Reasons Why Divorce Is Not Revenge," Morghan Leia Richardson, Feb. 12, 2018

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