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Divorcing couples in Washington know how hard it can be to take the high road when going through an emotional separation, particularly if there is a dispute over assets or child custody. However, by being the bigger person, individuals can make life easier for both themselves and their children.

First and foremost, divorcing spouses should treat each other with respect and civility. Even if one estranged spouse says something mean or hurtful to the other, it is best to avoid the temptation to respond in kind. Being respectful means not just being nice in person but also refraining from saying negative things behind the other’s back, particularly to the couple’s children. Children do not benefit from hearing all of the details of their parents’ divorce, and it can make a challenging time even more difficult for them.

Individuals can also make the divorce process easier if they let go of small things of little consequence. Oftentimes, divorcing spouses will spend so much money fighting over certain items of property that they wind up spending more than what the items are actually worth. Sometimes, it is just best for someone to relinquish control and give up on an issue that is not very important to him or her as it can prevent more anger, frustration and financial loss in the long run.

When going through a divorce, individuals should hold themselves up to a high ethical standard, which means fully disclosing the location and value of all assets that could be considered community property. Spouses who try to hide community assets can make the divorce take longer and cost more money than necessary as the other spouse then has to trace and valuate those assets. Whether a separation is clean or messy, working with a family law attorney may help individuals ensure that their interests are represented during separation negotiations.