I Hate My Ex – How to Minimise Regrets and Avoid a Hostile Divorce?

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Key takeaways:

  • Importance of keeping children in mind and considering their best interests throughout any divorce proceeding.
  • How to utilise mediation and family dispute resolution services?
  • Importance of keeping your cool and refraining from speaking ill about your former spouse.

A divorce – being the breakdown of a marriage or relationship – can be an extremely stressful event for all parties involved.

While a divorce typically takes place between two individuals i.e., a wife and husband, the impacts of a divorce are felt by many other parties.

This includes each spouse’s family members, their children, and sometimes even mutual friends.

Notably, this is also true in separation cases. Separation is the breakdown of a de facto relationship. A de facto relationship has a different legal definition, as compared to marriage.

However, the processes following a de facto separation are largely similar to those following a divorce.

Much like a divorce, the impacts of a de facto separation are felt by many parties, and not just the parties who are directly involved.

For these reasons, it is extremely crucial to make sure that your divorce or separation does not turn hostile. This is especially important to consider for contentious matters like property settlement, and child custody issues.

Property settlement, or division of assets is the legal procedure wherein marital assets are divided between the separating or divorcing spouses.

This can be complicated because in order for division of assets to take place, parties need to first assess their individual contributions to the total asset pool.

In cases where parties can do this amicably, they will not need to approach family courts.

However, where parties are unable to reach agreements, family courts will make financial orders which will be binding on both parties.

Given below are a few things to consider if you wish to avoid a hostile divorce. To minimise long-term emotional and psychological impacts, it is necessary that parties split up in an amicable manner. 

  1. Avoid posting unnecessary information and updates on social media.

When getting a divorce, behaviour such as posting information regarding your former spouse on your social media is looked down upon.

It is understandable that many people connect with their friends through social media platforms. However, posting unnecessary comments about the divorce or your former partner on social media will only aggravate the other party.

Similarly, it is not uncommon for people to find new partners shortly after their divorce proceedings have begun. Posting updates about the new partner on social media is not the best option as such information is accessible to everyone.

This includes your children and the judge. There might be a possibility that your matter has to be dealt with in court. In this instance, your previous posts and behaviour could be seen in a negative light.

Most importantly, you must think about your children. A divorce can be extremely stressful for them as well. Avoid acting in a way that could cause further stress to them.

Moreover, such behaviour can hurt your chances at sharing custody of the children.

For instance, In the case of Suris & Suris [2021] FedCFamC1F 1, a party (father of children) made social media posts about court proceedings, and even posted text messages from the children.

This impacted him negatively and it was found that he presents an unacceptable risk of emotional harm to the children.

Notably, each case is different. Individual circumstances of the case may play out differently. While for some it might not be a big deal to post on social media, for others, such behaviour can have negative implications.

Therefore, to be on the safe side, steer clear of aggravating any of the other parties involved.

  1. Avoid gaining advantage over your former spouse by dragging your children in the case.

Often, the stress of a divorce or separation can manifest itself in unpleasant ways. For instance, a parent might badmouth their former spouse in the presence of their children.

As mentioned above, even children feel the brunt when their parents are getting divorced or separated. Therefore, making ill-intentioned remarks about their other parent can cause more trouble for them.

Children must never be made to feel like they must choose one parent or choose a side. It is also important to communicate with the children and help them understanding the situation.

Speaking ill about the other parent will not bode well. This is only lead to resentment, and ultimately it will make the divorce or separation more complicated.

From a legal perspective as well, both parties should refrain from discussing child support or child custody matters in the presence of their children.

  1. Utilise family dispute resolution, or mediation services.

Many of the issues under family law are contentious. Custody battles, property settlement and division of assets can all be potentially problematic.

This is why parties approach family courts and present their individual cases. After this, courts make binding financial or parenting orders.

However, court cases will not be simple, and often tend to be too time-consuming and expensive.

This is why even courts encourage that parties consider other means to resolve disputes before approaching courts. In some cases, the courts must be satisfied that the parties have utilised alternative options before attending the court.

Family dispute resolution and mediation are great alternatives. When parties attend mediation services, family lawyers encourage the parties to have healthy discussions among each other.

By creating an atmosphere where both parties can voice their concerns, mediators assist them to reach amicable agreements.

Once this is done, they can make parenting plans or consent orders as per their wish. This is the best way to avoid a divorce from becoming hostile. When making a parenting plan, both the parties’ wishes will be considered properly.

Call 02 9723 8080 to book a mediation appointment with an accredited family lawyer. Alternatively, you can consider family relationship centres such as Relationships NSW for counselling services.

  1. Plan your financial future

Needless to say, a divorce or separation can lead to uncertainty in all walks of life. A divorce can lead to major changes in relation to financial aspects of people’s lives.

Because a lot of your future plans get uprooted, it is important to make new plans for your financial future. This is especially true for couples who would rely on each other’s financial resources to make a living.

On the other hand, it is all the more important if one spouse was financially dependent on the other spouse. There are various avenues that help dependent former spouses to get back to their feet and adjust to new changes.

For example, in Australia spousal maintenance or spousal support payments are paid by one party to the other party, until the latter is able to get back on their feet.

Planning your financial future is important because divorcing couples often face disputes in matters related to property settlement.

Those who have a plan in place needn’t worry and therefore it reduces the chances of unnecessary disputes and conflicts.

Bank organisations like Westpac offer step-by-step guides for you to begin financial planning for your future.

  1. Minimising costs of divorce

Divorce proceedings can often get expensive. This can lead to each party feeling greater resentment towards the other.

To avoid regrets in the future, consider various options through which you can minimise the costs of your divorce.

As a fact, court proceedings are always lengthy and more expensive. It is better to settle matters outside of the courtroom.

Therefore, each party must try their level best to reach agreements during mediation. Moreover, when choosing your lawyers, always make sure that you receive costs agreements beforehand.

Many firms also offer fixed-fees. These provide you the opportunity to conduct research about legal costs before proceeding with your matter.


There are many strategies and tips you can consider to avoid a hostile divorce. Ultimately, it is about accepting the situation and handling matters with integrity.

The best way to approach such stressful situations is to be open to communication and negotiations and make your best efforts to minimise long-term impacts of divorce or separation.

This includes behaving in a manner such that the other party does not hold any grudges against you. Similarly, it is necessary for parties to act in a way such that they avoid causing their children anxiety or further stress.

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John Bui

Principal at JB Solicitors
John Bui is the Principal Solicitor of JB Solicitors – a family law firm based in Sydney, Australia.He has over 10 years’ experience in family law and commercial litigation. John is also a nationally accredited family law mediator and arbitrator.
John Bui
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