When couples divorce, all of the buried frustrations and resentments they harbored over the years toward each other can surface. There’s less reason than ever to hold back on what you’re thinking, so it’s really tempting to let all your disdain or anger show.

Don’t do it. Your ability to be civil and respectful — or even show kindness and empathy — toward your spouse can actually be more important than ever if you want to get through your divorce as easily as possible.

Here’s what can happen if your divorce descends into an emotional free-for-all and becomes contentious:

  • It could impede your custody case. The court will be looking very carefully at your ability to foster a healthy relationship between your children and your spouse, despite the divorce. If you’re letting vitriol fly and denigrating your spouse at every turn, that could indicate to the court that you’re not very “parental.” No matter how justified your feelings, it could create a bad impression.
  • It could make settling the disposition of your assets even harder. When hostilities abound, it’s difficult to get people to negotiate openly and fairly with each other where money is concerned.
  • It could hurt your career. Your spouse might be inclined to “fire back” and make a scene or two at your place of business. The fallout from those explosive encounters could damage your professional relationships and your reputation (especially if you fire back or intimate details of your split become public).
  • It can damage your health. A divorce is already stressful enough. You don’t want to add the stress that comes along with a contentious battle that can consume all of your spare energies.

Your marriage wasn’t perfect, but you should always aim for an amicable divorce whenever possible. It’s truly the best way to start your new life out on a solid, happier footing.