Separating from your spouse and making the decision to divorce can be difficult, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t move forward and achieve an amicable divorce. The truth is that no one wants the divorce process to be any more painful than it needs to be or last longer than it must. Thankfully, a peaceful divorce isn’t out of reach for any divorcing couples. Following these tips for an amicable divorce or separation.
Most people think it’s impossible to divorce peacefully. That friendly divorces are a myth. The truth is that an amicable divorce is better for everyone. Including yourself. Divorcing amicably means doing so without litigation. Litigation is the result of spouses who can’t reach an agreement or compromise. It’s always better when both parties are able to negotiate in good faith and reach a settlement. Unfortunately, this can be a challenge for many people.
The path to an amicable divorce is to approach it in a way that you and your spouse are working together to end the marriage and resolve any differences in a productive manner. This is better for everyone including the divorcing couple and their children both mentally and physically.
Here are some valuable tips to help make your divorce amicable.
Step 1: Decide to Divorce Without Blame
When a marriage ends, it’s easy to get caught up playing the blame game. This is especially true when it seems as though one person holds more responsibility when it comes to separation or divorce. Regardless of what led up to the divorce, once you reach this point the time for blame has passed. You should now be focused on moving forward with both the divorce process and your life.
If you can agree to amicably divorce without blaming each other for what went wrong and to show mutual respect to each other, then it will be much easier to agree on the settlement agreements. Sometimes, this may mean seeing a family therapist to help you get past the hurt caused by the divorce and separation.
Step 2: Focus on the Big Picture
Any family law attorney knows that sometimes the things that hang up a divorce or cause it to drag out are small and inconsequential. This often happens because one or both parties are hurt and possibly want the other to suffer. Doing this isn’t going to make you feel better in the short term or in the long run. It’s best if you can take the time to figure out what matters most to you. Think about your wants, needs, and non-negotiables. Then, from there, you’re better able to choose your battles. If you get too caught up battling over every little thing then you’ll find yourself in court and someone else will be left to decide for you.
It’s also important to remember that if you and your spouse have children together that the divorce will likely affect them for years to come. If you can’t show mutual respect for the other parent, then it will leave a lasting mark on your child.
Understanding that there are some things you’ll need to sacrifice to get what you really want is an important factor in planning for a divorce.
Step 3: Negotiate Divorce Terms in Good Faith
Dragging out a divorce not only takes an emotional and physical toll on both parties, but it also can cost much more financially. The fastest way to increase your divorce cost is to not be truthful about assets or income. This is why it’s so important to negotiate your divorce in good faith.
A good faith negotiation is one where both parties reveal all of their relevant financial information and do their best to ensure this information is accurate. Essentially, you agree to put all your cards on the table. This not only creates a clearer picture of what needs to be discussed, but it also makes the divorce process take a lot less time because there’s no need to revisit things if they’re discovered at a later point.
While you don’t have to be friends with your ex-spouse, agreeing to divorce in the best way possible can save you both time and money. However, doing so requires trust.
Step 4: Place the Needs of Your Children First
An amicable divorce requires an understanding that the needs of the family and children come first. You must both agree to be good co-parents. Decide what’s best for the children together rather than focusing on fighting with each other. Both parents should have the opportunity to be actively involved in their children’s lives unless doing so would put the children in danger. The children will thank you for thinking of them in the future.
Step 5: Work to reach a Divorce Agreement Outside of Court
Taking your divorce to court can be trying on your entire family. Especially if it becomes a contest to see who can get the most dirt on the other party. This doesn’t do any favors for anyone. While it’s understandable that divorce proceedings can get heated, this doesn’t have to be the case.
Divorce mediation is a way for both parties to have a respectful dialog to reach a mutual agreement without having to deal with the ugliness of a court battle. Mediation also allows you to take breaks as needed and find ways around problems on your terms rather than the courts.
Avoiding Litigation When Problems Arise
Even couples with the best of intentions can face challenges that are difficult to resolve. Thankfully, there are ways to get through these challenges and still divorce amicably.
Divorcing When You Can’t Agree on Everything
People are capable of disagreeing without being at each other’s throats. The best way to do this is to try to keep your emotions in check. Getting emotional about disagreements doesn’t accomplish anything or help you get any closer to your goal.
Take the time to cool off when things become heated. If you’re having difficulties resolving one issue, move on to something else for the time being. You can revisit the problem topic down the road when you’ve both had time to cool off and think more about how to solve the disagreement.
Divorcing When You’re Not Ready to Divorce
In some situations, one spouse may want to divorce when the other does not. It’s even possible that you might have been blindsided with the divorce paper. In these cases, the party who wasn’t wanting to divorce can be understandably overcome by emotion. Thankfully, you don’t have to undertake this journey on your own.
Speak with your divorce attorney and maybe even your family therapist about what you’re going through. Together you can navigate this difficult process with grace. You should always have representation, even if you’re just going through mediation with an amicable divorce. Don’t sign any document without letting your lawyers review it. Your ex-spouse may have had more time to think about things than you have so take the time to discuss things with your attorney to make sure your wants and needs are covered.
Divorcing When You Have Negative Feelings About Your Spouse
Infidelity can lead to a plethora of negative feelings toward your spouse including those of betrayal and anger. It’s important that you don’t let these emotions control your behavior. This is especially true if you have children. All too often victims of infidelity face additional trials when they let their emotions get carried away and end up doing things they shouldn’t such as using children as leverage or trying to alienate children from the other parent. Under no circumstances is this a good idea. In fact, it’s possible you may suffer in the long run if a judge determines that you’re making false allegations or are guilty of parental alienation.
While it will be difficult, it’s important to separate your emotions from the divorce. There is a time and a place to grieve your marriage and it isn’t in mediation or in the courtroom. Do your best not to lash out and things will be better for you and your children in the long run.
Have an Amicable Legal Separation Before or During the Divorce
Having an amicable separation requires planning and preparation. If you’re doing a trial separation before divorce, then there are certain things you’ll want to discuss such as:
- Who will move out?
- How will you split parenting time during the separation?
- How will you split finances or child support during the separation?
- Who will pay the bills at the family home during the separation?
A separation may actually be a good opportunity for you and your spouse to see what does and doesn’t work for both of you as well as your children. This can provide you with experience and perspective about what’s best for the kids when it comes time to go through with the divorce proceedings.
Navigating an Amicable Divorce with an Attorney
In preparation for divorce, each spouse should look into hiring an attorney. You each need your own divorce lawyer. Your attorney will likely have a strategy session with you to discuss how you would like to proceed along with what you want and need at the end of the process.
Your attorney will be able to offer divorce coaching, so you know what to expect to not be caught off guard. They can also offer legal advice before and during divorce mediation to help you keep focused on the things that you want and need most. If it comes down to child support, child custody, or spousal support, a family law lawyer will have the experience needed to be able to guide you through each step of the process.
Even an uncontested divorce can be difficult. It’s always a good idea to have representation that can negotiate on your behalf during mediation, offer divorce advice and tips for an amicable divorce, and offer a perspective you may not have otherwise had access to. When emotions cloud our minds, it can be a challenge to make it through the difficult times surrounding divorce. However, by controlling any unreasonable behavior and working together with your spouse, you can both make the divorce process as painless as possible.