Divorce is an unfortunate fact of life. Circumstances change, and people grow apart. But your divorce does not need to be acrimonious.
An amicable divorce is easier on all parties. And why shouldn’t it be easy? A divorce is a major life event but the process can be smooth.
Once you and your partner have made the difficult decision to separate you can still remain on civil terms. The ending of a marriage is the end of a contract. Contracts can be finalized in a way which benefits both parties.
So what are the tips for an amicable divorce?
Don’t Rush the Process of Friendship
Of course, it would be wonderful if every divorce ended with a hug and handshake and the couple remained firm friends for life. This can happen, but it is not a good idea to try and be friends too soon.
A divorce is a painful and disruptive event. You both need time and space to think through your feelings and adjust to the changes in your lives.
Remain professional and courteous, but don’t try and hasten a friendship. Let everything evolve in its own time.
Write it Down
Trust is important during a divorce agreement, but this is a challenging time for everyone. There is a lot to be talked about. Words are spoken, and sometimes words are forgotten or recanted.
If you reach an agreement on assets or other components of the divorce make sure you take a note. This way, if anything changes, you have a record of the agreement.
Issues of money and parenting are emotional topics. Keep a record and be precise with the details.
Create a Parenting Plan
When there are children involved in a separation emotions can become heated. Try and work as a team with your ex. Keep everyone’s best interests at the forefront.
A parenting plan should clearly outline the expectations and guidelines of your continued co-parenting after the divorce is complete. The plan should cover where the children will live, weekend arrangements, holiday arrangements, and other key issues.
Remember to keep sight of the fact that your children are involved in a divorce regardless of their age. A divorce affects the entire family. Ensure they don’t become a bargaining tool.
Sometimes, regardless of the best intent, you and your ex can reach an impasse. Perhaps there is a point or two which you just cannot agree on. This may be the time to enlist the help of a mediator.
Mediation is a popular way to settle family legal disputes. The mediator can offer an unbiased point of view and work with both parties to educate and instruct.
A mediator who is also a lawyer has the experience and legal knowledge to help couples reach an agreement.
Establish Clear Rules and Consequences
A divorce is a stressful time and humans can sometimes act badly under stress. Each of you may be determined to have an amicable divorce but there can be moments when the end result is lost in the heat of the process.
It can be helpful to define a set of rules along with consequences should the rules be broken. This will allow both you and your ex to feel secure if one of you strays from the agreement.
In effect, you are establishing the rules for your new post-divorce relationship.
Leave Old Habits Behind
Once you and your ex-partner have decided to divorce you are removing yourself from the relationship of marriage. A marriage provides a couple with a support person to prop them up through life’s challenges. A divorce releases you from this requirement.
Resist the urge to be there for your ex’s difficulties whether they be emotions, work, or family. You can still show concern, of course, but it is not healthy to continue to be the key support once you have made the decision to divorce.
Make a reasonable gap between the two of you and let go of your requirement to support your ex through their troubles. Concentrate on developing positive new habits for your life without your ex.
Allow Relationship Transformation
You have both decided on an amicable divorce but what happens next? How do you adjust to the relationship post-marriage?
Your new relationship with your ex will be different. It has to be. A marriage partnership needs to evolve after a divorce.
Don’t rush it. Allow your new relationship to transform and grow and release your expectations of what it should be.
Accept Support When Offered
A divorce is tough, regardless of how smooth the process is. You can’t do it alone. If friends or family offer their help, take it.
Sometimes all you need is a friendly ear and a willingness to listen. A divorce can be an isolating time. A frank conversation with someone who cares can be all you need to reclaim the feeling that you are not alone.
Don’t try and do this by yourself. Others may have experiences that they can share which will help with some of your questions. Ease your pathway and accept support.
Don’t Lay Blame If You Want An Amicable Divorce
It can be tempting to blame your ex for the marriage breakdown. It may be their fault but laying blame does not help anyone. Accept the marriage dissolution and go forward peacefully.
It is all too easy for a divorce to become messy and confrontational. Removing blame from any interactions with your ex will make your discussions flow more smoothly and increase the chances of reaching an agreement.
A pointed YOU said (did, had, etc) immediately puts the other party on the defensive. Bypass the blame game.
Select a Divorce Option
There are many ways to complete the divorce process. You can choose to go to battle or you can choose a more peaceful approach. An amicable divorce is more likely if you take the peaceful route.
Talk with the professionals. Find out what your options are. You can choose litigation, collaboration, or mediation.
A good divorce attorney will lead you through the dispute and resolution process and out the other side with your sanity intact.