Divorce is never easy. Nobody gets married thinking that divorce will be in their future, and nobody wants to admit that it’s time for a divorce. But it’s not always inherently a bad thing, either. Due to a societal stigma surrounding divorce, many of us view it negatively, or with shame. We don’t talk about divorce as much as we should, with many not even realizing that about 40% to 50% of all American couples get divorced. For that matter, we often view divorce as a failure when it could just as easily be seen as the end of a marriage and the beginning of a new adventure in life. However, just because you know that your divorce is ultimately a good thing doesn’t mean that your ex feels the same way. Divorcing spouses are sometimes on the same page and are perfectly amicable towards each other; however, divorce can also bring up hurt feelings, and even amicable divorces can lead to conflict. The last thing you need in a divorce is conflict, which is why some people make the mistake of not beginning their divorce with a family law attorney on their side. Family law attorneys actually deal with divorce, among other things, and it’s important to have your interests legally represented as you go through the process. With that being said, there are things that you can do to cut down on your risk of conflict in your divorce.

1. Stick To Writing

It’s likely that the law firm you work with will advise you to keep as much of your communication in writing as possible. And when we say writing, we don’t mean by text, but rather by email. There are several reasons for this. For one thing, having as much documentation as possible will help your family law attorney if for some reason your ex did decide to fight you on an issue. Though you don’t necessarily want to view every email that you send as evidence, it can be crucial if conflict does arise despite your best efforts and your divorce somehow ends up with civil litigation. But on a greater note, divorces often spiral into fighting because people say things without thinking. Writing down your thoughts, even if you’re just communicating about a seemingly small issue, can make it easier for you to think before you speak, and to avoid saying something carelessly hurtful.

2. Keep Your Social Media Private

It’s very likely that your family law attorney will advise you very quickly to keep your social media profiles private. It can be all too tempting to go online and begin looking through your ex’s social media profile in an attempt to see if they’ve moved on, if they’re walking the dog, if they’re hanging out with the kids. Divorces can take a long time, and in that time you or your ex may very well start seeing someone new, and this, in particular, can bring up a lot of bad feelings and begin conflict. You may not feel tempted to look at your ex’s profile, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t be tempted to look at yours. You can’t control their actions, but you can keep them from seeing what’s on your page by keeping all of your social media private, and perhaps not being social media friends or followers with your ex until divorce proceedings are over; though you may want to reach out and make it clear that you’re doing this for reasons that aren’t personal.

3. Work With A Mediator

Working with a family law attorney doesn’t mean that you can’t also work with a mediator. There are a lot of benefits to working with a divorce mediator, especially if you and your ex share children. A mediator is a neutral party that doesn’t represent either of you and can help facilitate communication and negotiations in a conflict-free setting. This will help the two of you work together, especially on issues that are particularly touchy like custody.

The last thing you want is a bad divorce; choose a lawyer who focuses on family law (not your friend who happens to be a tenant attorney) and make avoiding conflict a priority.