Spoiling for a fight with your ex? That’s understandable, and probably normal. Divorce can bring so much anger, fear, loss, sadness and regret. Most people will tell you, if they are honest, about the temptation to say and do some pretty awful things to their ex. Many of them have done and said those things, which will rarely have been a good idea, no matter how it felt at the time.

Angry outbursts can feel satisfying, and outbursts in the presence of your children or other people can make you feel validated in your anger about what your ex has said or done to you. Finding an outlet for your anger is healthy; letting go of anger in a way that is going to escalate conflict and your own pain is not healthy. It’s not healthy for your emotional well being and it’s not healthy if you care about money and divorce.

I have worked in co-operative or civilised separation for many years now, and one of the things I have learnt, is that those very early steps or missteps count down the track. Holding back can often be the difference between some kind of reasonable solution and an acrimonious fight about everything….about your children, about your money, your child support, your property. And when you end up arguing instead of co-operating, you will damage your own emotional and often physical health, and you will spend much more money than you need to, usually on lawyers, and get less for it.

Separation means that you face many decisions. Some of those will be major decisions, and some of those decisions will have long term effects on your family and your money. There are different people who can help you to take the long view, and channel some of the emotion you feel away from the decision-making that you and your spouse need to manage. Nobody will say that is easy to separate your feelings from legal decisions, and it isn’t. But anyone who has come to a dignified, respectful conclusion to their marriage or relationship will say that keeping the decision making as business like as possible, and biting their lip at times, was a good tactic. Your psychologist/counsellor, peace-making lawyer, friends, family are all people with whom you can think about unburdening your stress and upset.

You need to know what is possible and reasonable in negotiating agreements with your ex, but you don’t need to risk court or fights between lawyers to get a fair outcome. Collaborative lawyers, mediators, divorce financial planners and counsellors are peacemakers. Peacemaking is not selling out or giving away your rights; it is about making good decisions for your children and yourself. Staying away from angry outbursts will help you to stay away from angry lawyers, and that’s the proven key to looking after your money and health.