The Art Of Not Arguing

05/07/2012 07:16 pm ET | Updated Jul 07, 2012

You find yourself in a heated discussion with your soon-to-be ex. You end the conversation angry, frustrated and find this just adds to your growing resentment. You keep asking yourself, "Why can't we just have a normal conversation? Why does it always turn into an argument?"

Once you enter the divorce process, the relationship between the couple changes immediately. It is important to change your mindset when working with your soon-to-be ex in a business matter and resist the urge to throw emotions, past hurts or resentments into the discussions around your divorce.

During my marriage, my ex managed our finances. Early in our divorce process, he started a conversation one evening about selling our house, capital gains and a deal he wanted me to commit to that would alleviate tax on my part due to our circumstances. His proposal sounded reasonable and was presented with the intention of my financial well-being.

For me, I was clueless on capital gains other than the very basics -- sell price minus buy price are called capital gains. What that had to do with taxes, divorce, etc I had no idea. It was at that point that my business sense kicked in. I realized that I needed to talk with someone with tax expertise before committing to anything.

The next day I consulted with a friend who told me that what my ex presented to me would have been accurate a few years ago, but tax laws had changed on capital gains and that his proposal was not in my best interest. He sent me a link to the current tax law on capital gains. which I printed out.

By this time, I had questions swirling in my mind about how to discuss this with my ex. Although my ex and I were able to talk through such discussions, we were wary of each other. We didn't completely trust each other on division of financial property, and the emotional state of the house was icy.

My first thought was that he was trying to get more money from me by offering up a deal I would jump at since I was fairly clueless about financial matters. My second thought was that perhaps he really didn't know about the law change. My third thought was that it was pointless for me to waste time reading into the situation, it really didn't matter, so why go there? I had the facts I needed to respond with -- that was all that mattered.

That evening, I shared with him that I had discuss his proposal with a friend who gave me a printout about current tax law and told him that it changed in the past 2 years. I gave him the printout and dropped the topic. I didn't need to question motive. I didn't need to rub it in his face that he was wrong. I just stated the facts and let it go.

From this experience I learned some value lessons that I carried forward through our divorce process:

• Do your homework. Know where you legally stand before proposing or committing to anything.
• Treat discussions like business discussions -- check emotions and resentments at the door.
• Accept that you and your ex are both human... we make mistakes.
• The Golden Rule applies; treat your ex the way you want to be treated

Most importantly, I felt empowered to know that I effectively used my resources to research a topic I knew nothing about and discussed the situation calmly with my ex.