The stress and emotion involved in divorce can bring out the worst in people. It can be among the most stressful life events to go through a divorce in California, but those who allow themselves to turn ugly might suffer for it. Speaking or acting maliciously to a soon to be ex can hurt the family dynamic if there are children involved and it can harm the person’s reputation as well. Meanwhile, there are advantages to remaining amicable during divorce.

Amicability makes the process overall less stressful and more likely to settle without the expense of a trial. It also increases the likelihood of a functional co-parenting arrangement once the parties are officially divorced. Generally speaking, giving respect and courtesy makes receiving respect and courtesy more likely. Additionally, working with the other side often results in more assets to divide and a fairer division of assets. Denigrating a spouse can give him or her a basis to argue for better property division terms due to reputational harm or other consequences.

Working together can also lead to better custody arrangements. Courts always use the best interests of the children as the standard for making custody decisions, and they’re less likely to side with a parent who is petty and angry. Animosity is likely to hurt the angry party more than the target in most cases.

Individuals and couples in California who are considering or going through a divorce might want to meet with an attorney. An attorney who has experience practicing family law may be able to help by identifying and categorizing the couple’s assets and liabilities or by negotiating the terms of property division with the other side. In cases where children are involved, an attorney might create a child custody plan for submission to the court or argue on behalf of the client during official proceedings.