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Divorce is a complex – and often contentious – process for many people. Not only are there difficult legal matters to resolve, but parties can struggle with painful emotions like anger, guilt and sadness.

As such, the last thing many people want is a long, bitter divorce. Instead, people prefer (and typically benefit from) a more amicable approach to divorce. If this sounds like your situation, there are some important missteps you should avoid in order to keep your divorce moving forward as peacefully as possible.

Mistake 1: Lashing out at your ex

Sending nasty emails, badmouthing each other on Facebook and making inflammatory comments or false allegations are all easy ways to upend an amicable divorce. Not only can these actions stir up legal concerns, they can also make the other party so upset that he or she no longer wishes to cooperate or negotiate.

Instead, keep communications respectful; imagine a judge reading in court everything you say or write about your ex.

Mistake 2: Having unrealistic expectations

Too many people create unnecessary conflict in a divorce by having unrealistic expectations. They might demand all marital property or an outrageous amount of support, for instance.

Keeping your expectations realistic by familiarizing yourself with California family laws can make it easier to make and accept reasonable requests.

Mistake 3: Trying to navigate the process alone

Even if you and the other party on the best of terms, confusion and conflict can arise. After all, divorce is a legal process, which many people have never been through before.

Having the help of an attorney, even if you think you don’t need one, can allow both parties to avoid costly missteps and conflict. This can preserve the positive, respectful elements of a relationship throughout and following the divorce process.