4 Tips for an Amicable Divorce
by Jenn Montgomery
An amicable divorce may sound like a fairytale, but you can take steps to make yours a little friendlier and easier on everyone. In general, it’s best to eliminate sources of conflict and hostility as quickly as possible, or to prevent them from appearing at all. That may sound impossible, but there are a few techniques that can make it fairly simple.
It is never a good idea to negotiate terms or discuss the divorce while angry. When you let your emotions cloud your thinking, you may say or do something that you regret, which can be incredibly damaging during a divorce. Even something as simple as reading a message from the other party can lead to hasty and regrettable actions when viewed through the lens of anger. It’s best to take a few minutes or hours to step away from stressful situations when that happens, before returning to them with a clear head. If you find yourself angry with the other person, find something else to do so you can calm down. If you are in a meeting, ask if you can take a five-minute break so you can take that time to cool down.
Divorce leads to strong emotions, and it can highlight long-term issues that many people face. Even if you are certain you want a divorce, you may deal with something called divorce grief. Some people can deal with that on their own, but most benefit from a little bit of help. Therapists are trained to help people work through their struggles and complicated emotions. Most people can benefit from seeing one to help work through the emotional side of their divorce and they can help you figure out how to work through your problems without fighting.
Good Legal Advice
Divorce laws are complicated, and competent legal assistance is a necessity for navigating them. However, it’s important to remember that the best lawyers will also have experience with mediation. They can help you keep productive arguments civil, while cutting unproductive arguments short. They also have the experience to tell the difference between the two types, which is something that the average person lacks. That skill can do a great deal of good on its own, but it combines with legal knowledge to make good counsel the most important tool at the average person’s disposal.
Ignore the Peanut Gallery
Friends and family members love to give advice about divorce proceedings, but they tend not to know about the big picture or understand much about the legal situation. They also take sides quickly and have trouble looking at things from multiple perspectives. While it is nice to have someone who is on your side completely, it isn’t the most productive when it comes to moving forward with divorce proceedings. Because of their bias, their advice is often useless, and it can create unrealistic expectations. It can be healthy to use them as a source of emotional support, but it is usually best to ignore them once they start talking about the state of your relationship.
Every divorce involves some stress and pain, but there’s no reason to make things harder than they need to be. Good conflict resolution techniques and legal advice will make the process as painless as possible, and that can do a lot to help people move on with their lives.
Jenn Montgomery is a freelance writer, editor, and blogger based in San Diego. She writes on a variety of topics and enjoys learning new things. Follow Jenn on Twitter at @JennMontgomery5.