Divorce is a challenging process under the best of circumstances, and there is often anger and hurt. Unfortunately, many people react poorly during those stressful moments, and you may find yourself facing stonewalling by your spouse.
When a spouse chooses to stonewall or deliberately delay and complicate the divorce proceedings, it can make an already difficult situation even more stressful. If you believe your spouse is stonewalling you during your divorce, there are steps you can take.
Identifying stonewalling behavior
Stonewalling is a tactic where one person in a conversation or negotiation refuses to communicate or cooperate. In a divorce, a stonewalling spouse may refuse to respond to requests for information, fail to comply with agreed-upon timelines or continually change their demands. These actions can slow down the divorce process, increase costs and escalate conflict.
Consequences of stonewalling
Stonewalling can prolong your divorce process and make it more costly. It can lead to longer court battles and increase your stress levels. Additionally, the courts do not look favorably upon stonewalling. If your spouse is purposefully delaying proceedings, it could negatively impact their standing in court.
Strategies for dealing with stonewalling
There are strategies you can use if your spouse is stonewalling. Documentation is essential; keep track of all interactions, noting any delays or refusals to cooperate.
Communicate clearly and directly, and keep your emotions in check. It is easy to become frustrated when dealing with a stonewalling spouse, but displaying anger or impatience can escalate the situation. Dr. John Gottman, of The Gottman Institute, recommends giving a stonewalling spouse some space and allowing them to cool down before trying to continue communications with them.
If attempts to move forward are not successful, you may need to involve the court. A judge can issue orders to compel cooperation, and sanctions may apply if your spouse continues to stonewall.
The emotional toll of stonewalling
Stonewalling can take an emotional toll. It is important to take care of your mental health during this challenging time. Reach out to supportive friends and family, engage in activities you enjoy and consider seeking help from a therapist or counselor.
By understanding stonewalling behavior and using effective strategies, you can work to overcome these challenges and move forward with your divorce.