10 Ways of Ensuring an Amicable Divorce with Your Wife by Sonya Schwartz
Though it’s painful to be at this point in your marriage, you’ve decided divorce is the best decision. You’d like to expedite the process and with the least degree of strife between you and your wife. Kudos to you for your good intentions! Here are 10 ways to ensure an amicable divorce.
1. Obtain emotional support.
Think of four people with whom you’re close that can offer a kind ear. Find out the best times to call them. Having a support system in place can sustain you through stressful moments.
Also, consider a divorce counselor. You’ll obtain an objective perspective, along with coping skills to make lifestyle changes easier. With the therapist’s professional guidance, you can work through unpleasant emotions and thoughts.
If your wife is agreeable, attend sessions together. The therapist will ensure that discussions remain civil. Kids also benefit from counseling, since divorce can prompt confusion, guilt, and feelings of abandonment.
To locate a licensed therapist in your area, refer to the online directory by Psychology Today. Each therapist posts an introduction to their practice, contact information, and photo. Conduct a search by specialty, zip code, and accepted insurance.
2. Plan your separate futures.
Before negotiating with your wife, take time to clarify what’s vitally important to you. Identify your wants, needs, and preferences. Avoid regarding possessions as bargaining chips to barter for what you want. This tactic will make your wife feel manipulated.
Decide where each of you will live and who will care for children and pets, if you have them. For children, you’ll need to determine who will have physical and legal custody. If one of you has sole physical custody, the other is entitled to visitation.
The best visitation arrangement is one that’s least disruptive for kids. If you and your wife can’t agree on a schedule, a court will issue a visitation order.
Then discuss finances. Begin by listing your assets, both joint and individual. Among the equities to assess are your house, income, savings, and pension. Business ownership is another factor to consider, if applicable.
Determine house value by asking a real estate agent for an appraisal. If you have a pension, consult with a pension analyst for how it should be shared. Regarding income, decide who will provide primary childcare. If it will be your wife, she’s entitled to child support along with spousal support if you earn more than she does.
Next, assess joint debt, such as car payments, credit cards, and a mortgage. Both you and your wife should calculate separate budgets, so you know how much money you’ll each require upon separating.
You may need the assistance of a mediator or attorney to reach a financial consensus. After achieving this, document the terms in writing. This agreement is called a “Consent Order.” Once court-approved, its terms are irreversible. If you and your wife can’t agree on finances, a judge can help you negotiate a settlement.
3. Consider divorce mediation.
A divorce mediator aids in customizing an agreement between spouses out-of-court. You’ll receive guidance in dividing joint assets and making decisions affecting your future.
You’ll both meet with the mediator in several sessions, each lasting one to two hours. During the first session, you identify issues and learn the documents you need to assemble. At subsequent meetings, you work on conditions of separation that satisfy both you and your wife. The mediator maintains a neutral stance, with the goal of facilitating communication.
When you concur on all issues, the mediator drafts an agreement for your signatures. Then you can file for divorce with the court system.
4. Hire a divorce lawyer.
If you choose mediation, you’ll still need the services of an attorney for at least two hours. A mediator cannot dispense legal advice, even if the person is a lawyer. You and your wife must obtain separate attorneys to consult on your case. The lawyers can help you compromise on thorny issues and must also review your final mediation agreement, the “Memorandum of Understanding.”
The attorneys will likely suggest a revision to the Memorandum. Here’s where you need to be cautious. Make sure you’re comfortable with the changes long-term.
5. Consider litigation.
Choose litigation rather than mediation if there are issues of domestic violence, substance abuse, or refusal to fully reveal financial information. For these situations, you need the expertise of a divorce attorney. You have several options for choosing one. If you have divorced friends or family members who separated on good terms, ask for referrals to their lawyers. A second option is to search online.
6. Avoid assigning blame.
Resist the temptation to point an accusing finger at your wife. To remain on peaceable terms with her, own your part in the break-up. Though it may be difficult, your reward will be an expedited settlement.
But what if the demise of your marriage was primarily her fault? Each time this thought arises, take several deep breaths, and move on. Fixating on past injustices won’t help. It will only drag out negotiations by making your wife defensive. Anger can sabotage an amicable separation, landing both of you in court to battle out grievances.
During discussions, if heated feelings rise to the boiling point, take a breather. Conclude a phone conversation or leave her presence. When emotions cool, resume where you left off. With a level head and controlled emotions, you’ll reach a settlement faster than with fighting.
7. Experience forgiveness.
A life without forgiveness is ruled by resentment. Harboring a grudge will make you ill. Release the negativity concerning what occurred between you and your wife. You’re embarking on a better life! It will be healthier for you if you can leave old baggage behind.
Although it isn’t easy, forgiveness is a crucial aspect of divorce recovery. To foster this mind-set, label the mistakes of the marriage a “learning experience,” and move ahead. If you feel stuck emotionally, divorce counseling can help.
8. Regard each other as friends.
Friendship is especially desirable if you have children. Maintaining a degree of goodwill spares kids from getting trapped in an angry undercurrent. For the sake of family happiness, collaborate with your wife and avoid undermining her. Try to support each other as parents, presenting a united front.
Here’s a visualization that can help. Picture giving your wife a fist bump. You might even make it your personal code of agreement. Each time you meet in the middle on an issue, do the fist bump. It will reinforce your intent to remain friends.
9. Take care of yourself.
Here are ways to de-stress and simultaneously help the divorce proceed smoothly.
- Establish separate quarters. Rent an apartment if you can afford one. If not, reserve a room in your house, apart from everyone else. If this isn’t feasible, claim a space as your own. If possible, set up a bed or futon there, and personalize the area with objects that bring you joy.
- Eat nutritiously. Minimize the intake of caffeine, sugar, and alcohol. Cravings for foods that are sweet, salty, and fatty can indicate elevated cortisol, a stress hormone. Lower your level with unprocessed food in the form of fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
- Exercise regularly. Vigorous physical activity produces hormones that reduce anxiety and ward off depression. It’s also a healthy way to channel frustration. Adopt a form of exercise you enjoy, and aim for 30 minutes daily. Do it in 10-minute stints, if that’s easiest.
- Engage in pure fun! Go to a concert, street festival, fair, or the movies. Visit a historic site, park, planetarium, aquarium, or museum. Spend time with a favorite hobby. Recreation is a breath of fresh air for your mind.
- Prioritize sleep. Create relaxing pre-bed rituals, such as taking a shower, reading, listening to music, or stretching. Your brain will interpret these actions as a signal to slow down. Allow 30 minutes to one hour for your pre-sleep routine. Just before nodding off, recall pleasant memories.
- Find the silver lining.Focus on what you’ll gain by divorcing. Examples are greater independence, freedom of choice, and less tension. Credit yourself for being the type of guy who isn’t vindictive. An amicable divorce is a giant leap toward a happy future.
Sonya Schwartz struggled for years and years in finding a deep and meaningful relationship that would last. After many years of searching, she met her now husband Greg, and has found a level of peace and tranquility in the relationship that could only dream of in the past. She now spends her time on helping other women that are struggling with the same issues that she was in the past. To learn more: www.heraspiration.com