How to Have an Amicable Divorce: 10 Tips to Know
In the United States, roughly 40 to 50% of married couples end up getting divorced. For people who are on their second, third, or fourth marriage, this divorce rate is even higher.
Few things are as exciting and beautiful as getting married, and few things are as emotionally difficult and stressful as getting divorced. People get divorced for a lot of reasons and depending on the nature of the relationship it may be more or less possible for you and your ex to remain amicable.
It's in everyone's best interest for the divorce proceedings to go by as painlessly as possible. However, that can be easier said than done.
Are you wondering how to have an amicable divorce? Here are ten tips to help you reach that outcome.
1. Gather a Support Network
There is no getting around the extent to which every divorce has tons of emotions dancing around at its core. In order to help you deal with the divorce process and manage your emotions, you'll want to build a positive support network.
This might mean finding a therapist or a divorce counselor that can help you work through how you are feeling.
Having a solid network of friends and family can be a wonderful thing, however, it can be common for those close to you to try and support you by speaking poorly of your partner or blaming them. While their intentions might be good, this can actually make it more difficult for you to build an amicable relationship with your partner.
Talk to your friends and your family about your desire to have an amicable divorce. You can explain to them that it isn't helpful for them to be trash-talking your partner. Outlining what your needs and expectations are from them as a support network can help to ensure that it is actually positive and supportive for you rather than detrimental.
Hiring a divorce lawyer can help you navigate the divorce process, even if it doesn't end up being battled out in court. If you're looking for a family lawyer, contact Verhaeghe Law.
2. Get Your Emotions in Check
There are few times in life that are as emotionally tumultuous as getting divorced. No matter the reason that you are getting divorced, it is common to be left with feelings of betrayal, heartache, and deep pain. On top of this, the legal aspect of getting divorced can seem so cold and businesslike that it can feel truly bizarre that this is what your relationship has devolved into.
Being honest with yourself about how you feel is one of the most important things that you can do to have an amicable divorce.
It is perfectly understandable to feel intense emotion during this time. However, getting your emotions in check will help to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible and also help make an amicable relationship more likely. It is particularly important to understand your emotions rather than letting your emotions guide you unconsciously when there are children involved.
One thing that you can do to help manage her emotions during this difficult time is to simply take a pause. Before screaming in anger, sending a passive-aggressive text message, or leaving a distraught voicemail, just take a few minutes and pause.
During this pause, take a few deep breaths and think about what the consequences might be of whatever action you are considering taking. Think about whether this action is advantageous to you and your desired outcome of having an amicable divorce. Try to zoom out past the particular issue that you are upset about and pinpoint the larger issues at play.
It can also be helpful to have a visualization at hand that helps to relax you. What is the most beautiful and relaxing place you have ever been? Whether it was a peaceful, tropical beach or your reading chair on a rainy evening, allow yourself to visualize this peaceful location when your emotions feel out of hand.
3. Understand the Impact of Divorce on Others and Create a Parenting Plan
When you are getting divorced, it does not happen in a vacuum. It will affect the people around you as well and it's important to understand these impacts.
Even though this is likely one of the most difficult times in your life, maintaining empathy and compassion for everyone else involved, including your partner, is essential.
The most important people you will want to focus on during a divorce proceeding are any children that might be involved. This can be a very difficult time for children who might have a difficult time understanding what exactly is going on.
In order to make the divorce process go as smoothly for both you and your children, you should create a parenting plan with your partner. Doing so can help minimize stress by providing clear guidelines on how the two of you will handle raising your children after divorce. But before that, it is best to seek the assistance of experienced child custody lawyers when creating these plans, as they can provide expert advice about what needs to be included in order for them to be legally binding. You and your partner are going to need to work as a team in order to keep the best interest of your children as the top priority.
A parenting plan is a plan that clearly outlines the guidelines and expectations of how you and your partner will coparent after the divorce is finalized. This will outline where the children will live, how holidays will be dealt with, weekend arrangements, and any other important topics.
No matter what, never used children as a bargaining tool. It does not matter how old the children are. Doing this will always create more pain and difficulty than proceeding maturely and respectfully.
4. Learn, Learn, Learn
One of the most important divorced tips is that you should learn as much as you can about the process. Divorce can be complicated, so you'll want to look into the divorce process, what your financial options are, and where your finances stand. When you are ignorant to this information, it can put you in a vulnerable position where you don't end up with a desirable outcome.
Also, perhaps in the past it has been your partner who has handled the finances or legal issues. Now that you and your partner are splitting up, you will need to take this responsibility on for yourself. If you do not do the research and learn about the process and what your options are, you could be left in a position where your partner has the advantage and you end up feeling like you got the short end of the stick.
If you end up feeling this way, it will put a real wrench in the gears of your ability to be amicable with your partner. If both of you are educated about what the process consists of and what the desired outcomes are, it is less likely that there will be animosity on the other side.
5. Set Reasonable Expectations
As we've mentioned before, it is all too easy to let your emotions get the best of you during a divorce proceeding. You'll have to think seriously about what you want, what you need, and what is completely non-negotiable. While you're thinking about these different categories of outcomes, it is absolutely vital that your expectations remain realistic.
While it might be tempting to you to try and cause harm to your ex by unfairly claiming property, money, or custody as retaliation for the hurt they've caused you, you must resist this temptation. No good can come of it and it can end up costing you a lot in the end.
Always try to think about what is a truly fair outcome for both of you. One of the best possible ways of proceeding is by avoiding battling it out in court and negotiating in good faith. If you can come to an agreement that you both think is fair, you're much more likely to be able to be friends in the future.
6. Don't Rush the Process of Friendship
When looking for divorced tips, it might sound like some partners are able to just remain friends through the whole process. However, you and your partner have been through a very difficult event. For this reason, it can be better to wait a while before trying to be friends again.
Both you and your partner are going to need some time and space to adjust to your new lives and work through your feelings. Allow your partner the time that they need and ask them to do the same for you.
It is important during the divorce process to remain courteous and professional. However, it's best not to rush or try to force a friendship. Instead, let it evolve naturally as time passes.
7. Write It Down
One of the most important tips for divorce is to always write down the agreements that you and your partner have reached so that there is a record of the agreement. It is easy during the proceedings for people to say things they don't mean, forgot what they said, or change their mind after the fact. Additionally, there is plenty of room for misunderstanding with spoken words.
The issues at hand are some of the most emotional topics you can imagine, namely parenting and finances. Be precise with the details of your records and make sure that you get everything in writing.
8. Take Care of Yourself
When you feel like your life is coming apart at the seams, it's easy to forget about taking care of yourself at the most basic level. However, the best way to help handle the stress and emotional chaos of getting divorced is to make sure you are taking care of yourself.
What does this mean? It means that you need to be getting enough sleep, exercising, eating well, taking time for yourself, practicing stress-relieving activities, and avoiding self-destructive activities.
9. Leave Old Habits in the Past
It can feel strange and difficult to transition from being intimately close with someone to undergoing a legal proceeding in order to separate from them. Your partner was once someone that you were able to look to for support, but those old habits need to be left in the past.
It can be hard to break the habit of being there emotionally for your partner when they are going through difficult times whether it be with work, family, or the divorce itself. Of course, you can still express your concern, but it's important that you are not their main source of support once the decision has been made to get divorced.
Similarly, when something difficult is occurring in your life after the divorce, resist the urge to go to your partner for support. This is one of the most important things when dealing with how to divorce amicably. Otherwise, boundaries can start getting blurred and difficult emotions can arise once again.
When you are going through a divorce and in the period of time after the divorce has been finalized, it's important that you concentrate on developing new positive habits for yourself. This way, you don't fall back in two old habits that can make your life, your partner's life, and your children's lives more complicated and more difficult.
10. Resist the Temptation to Play the Blame Game
During this time it can be incredibly tempting a natural to lay all of the blame for the end of your marriage on your ex. Even if it is objectively their fault, endlessly laying the blame at their feet is not going to help the process be any more amicable. At this point, it is best to accept that the marriages ending and that you are choosing to move forward peacefully.
Unfortunately, divorces can become confrontational and messy far too easily. If your conversations with your ex center around a constant stream of accusations and blame, there is little chance that you will be friends anytime soon.
These Tips Will Help You Learn How to Have an Amicable Divorce
Learning how to have an amicable divorce probably isn't something you were thinking about as you were planning your wedding. Unfortunately, it is common for people to grow apart or for circumstances to dictate that separation is the best possible outcome for everyone involved.
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