Divorce in California is rarely a simple procedure and if the situation is not amicable, it can become intense quickly. Splitting your life down the middle is hard enough when the two of you get along, but when one spouse is intentionally being difficult, things can escalate and affect every aspect of your life. As you deal with co-parenting or life after divorce, Family Life has some tips for dealing with a difficult ex.

When setting up meetings, make sure to keep treat them as business meetings. It is easy for conflict to escalate in face to face situations, so you may prefer to use the phone or leave a voicemail to avoid fights and arguing. You can also use texts or emails whenever possible. If you have children, this is an ideal way to avoid any type of negative interaction between you and your ex.

If it is difficult to get through a conversation without an argument or insult, try writing a script whenever you must negotiate something. Write out your thoughts before you get on the phone with your ex and include things you will not say no matter how bad it gets. Come prepared for your ex to say things that will hurt your feelings or upset you. Stick to the things that you need to finalize and discuss rather than getting into emotional arguments that you have been unable to resolve.

Finally, another tip to help get through a meeting with a difficult ex is to admit when their feelings are valid. You may go into every meeting with the expectation that they are difficult and that you have the right to be angry, but that can just escalate the situation. Staying calm not only benefits your emotional health, but also protects any children involved in the situation.

This is for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.