Divorcing your spouse does not always have to be a contentious, fighting tooth-and-nail process like it’s seen in the movies. Contrary to the stereotype, couples should strive to keep the divorce process peaceful, cooperative, and forward-thinking. The most successful divorces are resolved outside of court where both partners work together to achieve an equitable settlement. Here are five tips to help foster a peaceful divorce.
- Have a Plan in Place
The divorce process is lengthy and complicated.. Due to the emotional stress that a divorce can bring, it certainly can prove difficult to focus on settling procedural matters such as child custody and asset division. That’s why having a plan before you begin the process can play an enormous role in how the rest of your divorce will play out. Set ground rules on how and when you will discuss divorce-related topics, how you and your spouse will tell the kids, what avenues you will take to settle the process, and what you wish the end result to be. Educate yourself on the legal aspects of the divorce process, so you can prepare the necessary documents and resources needed for each step. Having these types of answers can pave a path towards a peaceful resolution. Of course, your plan might change during different stages, but getting started on the right foot can help ease the process immensely.
- Remain Civil and Respectful
This may (or may not) have been addressed in your initial plan, but it is extremely beneficial for both parties if mutual respect and civility are shared throughout the divorce process. The reason for every divorce is different; there may have been addiction, adultery, or perhaps worse that caused friction on your relationship, and you may have strong feelings of animosity towards your partner. However, hard-fought divorces fueled by emotion will almost always be lengthier, costlier, and more draining on both parties, as well as on friends and family involved. That is why being respectful and civil to each other can go a long way. It may be challenging, but in the long run the benefits outweigh the costs to you and your loved ones.
- Find Common Ground with Your Spouse
When the time comes to finally start deciding on division of assets, child custody, and other important matters of a divorce, one of the best solutions to make any headway in those discussions is to find common ground with your spouse. It may seem nearly impossible to agree on anything, so looking at the bigger picture can help put things in perspective. For example, you and your spouse may disagree on who gets what marital property. But, if each of you share a common goal that both parties want to end the process on equitable footing, both financially and emotionally, that may help generate a fair compromise on assets. Or, when deciding on custody and parenting schedules, if both parties can agree on putting their child’s needs and wants as top priority, you may be able to find common ground to work towards a resolution. Sharing common goals during the divorce process can allow for less contention and better compromise.
- Start Small Before Addressing the Big Issues
The divorce process has to address numerous significant issues like custody and division of property. However, there is no need to start talking about those issues as soon as the process starts. Talking about matters that will go into the final settlement too early may just complicate you and your spouse’s relationship even further and prevent healthy discussion down the road. So, it can be in both parties’ best interests to begin with the procedural requirements first before tackling the major items. Handle the paperwork, determine assets, and discuss what your children’s needs are before determining the final agreement.
- Look at Alternatives to Litigation
Typically, the couples that move directly into litigation in court without trying other options first experience the most aggressive, costly, and highly contested divorces of all. There are some alternatives to litigation that can resolve matters much more peacefully, quickly, and equitably. Mediation only requires you, your spouse, and a neutral third-party mediator to work together to come to a consensus. However, without a lawyer, determining equitability can be difficult. Collaborative divorce involves you and your spouse, your lawyers, and any other professionals (such as financial advisors). Both parties agree to not end in litigation and work together to come to an agreement. Either of these methods work and choosing one over the other can depend heavily on your specific situation. However, both can almost always end with better results than litigation, and at a lower cost financially and emotionally.
Making the decision to divorce should not be taken lightly, but the process does not have to be as difficult as it seems to be. Working together with your partner during a divorce is possible, but it just takes a bit of work. The strategies above can help to ensure an amicable divorce that keeps your family intact and does not break the bank in the process.