Family law cases can be draining both emotionally and financially. While there is always a certain level of difficulty expected with these cases, some cases take on a substantially worse character. For these cases, one party (or both) may begin exhibiting the following toxic behavior(s): irrationality; emotionally charged responses; unpredictability; unreasonableness; or any number of other negative behaviors. While it may be difficult to deal with the other person if they’re exhibiting these symptoms, there are things that can be done to alleviate some of the stress. This article is aimed at discussing some of the reasons why people may exhibit negative behaviors and reviewing some strategies that may help you during your case.
Reasons for the Behavior
While dealing with the legal system doesn’t generally rank high on people’s favorite things to do, not everyone becomes unreasonable during litigation. So if the other side in your case is acting in seemingly irrational ways, there are probably at least a few reasons behind it.
The first and probably most obvious reason for strange and/or aggressive behavior from the other side is this: family law cases are hard. These cases bring up lots of mixed emotions, whether it’s a disappointment, anger, regret, remorse, or sorrow, family law cases can be emotionally taxing. Because there can be so many conflicting sentiments at play, it can make people act in unusual and sometimes awful ways. There’s a common sentiment among family law attorneys that we get great people at their worst. And as much as it might sound trite, it’s fairly true — people going through family law cases are usually experiencing some of the worst times in their lives.
Fear of Letting Go
Another culprit for a person’s irrationality and unreasonableness may be attributable to the idea of finality. Whether their marriage is over, their relationship is about to end, or they’re trying to figure out what it will be like to be a single parent, the idea of finality (and the uncertainty that goes with it) can be frightening! Because of the anxiety surrounding the finish line, there are plenty of people who respond irrationally. Unfortunately for those people on the receiving end of things, it can make life pretty miserable.
Jekyll & Hyde
One of the most difficult situations you may find yourself in, is when the person on the other side of your case starts to exhibit some rather toxic behavior. Back and forth vitriol, excessive litigation, and overly aggressive tactics can really be draining. However, there are a few things that you can do to help alleviate some of the stress.
- Don’t Engage: Frequently, these individuals will engage in some pretty awful behaviors in an effort to elicit a response from you. As difficult as it may be, you’re generally better off not playing into their hand. So whether it’s ignoring a call, putting of an email response until later, or leaving a text message unaddressed, refusing to play these games can be helpful.
- Go the Extra Mile: Some of these behaviors are simple cries for attention. While it may be tough to reach out to these individuals in rough times, it can occasionally diffuse the situation.
- Have a Heart to Heart: A lot of conflict in family law cases result from a lack of understanding. If you’re able to communicate (to some degree) with the other person, it might be worth having a sit-down conversation about their needs.
Family Law cases can be tough, but they can definitely be more miserable if the other person is engaging in toxic behavior. Here at Modern Family Law, we specialize in family law, and we’ve encountered our fair share of difficult individuals. If you need the help of an attorney, call our firm today for a free consultation. We’re here to help you.