How to Have an Amicable Divorce
You know you want to move on, but you also want an amicable divorce. How do you do everything possible to move on amicably? You’re looking for a divorce you can be proud of, that is respectful to the marriage you had, to your spouse, and to your children. You’re looking for a divorce that sets up a positive future.
Read on to learn how to have an amicable divorce.
How to Have the Most Amicable Divorce Possible
Determine Your Goals For Your Future
Since you’re reading this article, it’s likely that one of your goals is that you have an amicable divorce. That’s a great and important goal. But even though your divorce itself is a big deal, you’ll be living the life you create post-divorce much longer than the divorce itself. So you want to make sure that you figure out your goals not only for the divorce itself, but for your life after divorce.
But how do you determine what you want? How do you decide if what you have is better than the alternative? What future do you want to create?
Divorce is a legal mechanism with tremendous power to change your life for the positive. Leaving an unhappy marriage for a better future is transformative.
Determining your goals is critical to designing your divorce itself — but doing is even more critical to ensuring your divorce is geared towards creating the life you want post-divorce.
For more on our to figure out your goals . . .
Stay Focused on Your Goals to Keep Your Divorce Amicable
How does determining your goals for your future help your divorce start and stay amicable? It directs your focus away from the inevitable bumps in the road and keeps your focus on the big picture. Your divorce will be more amicable if your focus is fixed on the high road.
In other words, those priorities you identified during your Goals & Planning Session? Don’t stick them in a drawer.
It’s easy to get swept up in the minutiae of the divorce and allow it to distract you from your big, important goals. You need to make decisions about how to handle the details, for sure. But when you make those decisions, make them in the context of the things that really matter to you. Does an hour difference on pick up and drop off really matter, or does having substantial, quality time with your children matter?
You get the idea.
Keep yourself focused on the big picture (such as financial stability) rather than aggravating annoyances (a bill your spouse paid late). Make a physical list of your overarching goals in a secure, private location, and refer to it when you feel yourself getting agitated and sweating the small stuff.
Choose a Divorce Process Consistent With Your Goals
Once you’ve decided on your priorities, share them with your divorce attorney. When she knows what matters most to you, she can begin the process of figuring out which of the three divorce and family law methods — litigation, collaborative divorce, and mediation –might be the right fit for you.
While we’re on this topic — make sure your family law firm has divorce attorneys experienced in all three approaches so you have the maximum options. The decision of how you work through the divorce will impact you and your family for years to come. For example, you don’t want to wind-up in a litigated divorce just because the lawyer you met with only litigates rather than because it’s best for your family. You also don’t want to wind up in a failed mediation just because you met with an attorney who only mediates.
Don’t think getting your spouse to agree to mediation is the only route to an amicable divorce. We see successful, amicable divorces in all three approaches.
For more on the different divorce processes in Connecticut . . .
Communicate Effectively With Your Spouse
After your goals, two spouses’ ability to communicate effectively (effectively — not perfectly) is a key piece to having the most amicabe divorce possible. Although you cannot control your spouse’s communication, you are 100% in charge of how you communicate (and respond).
For five tips to communicate effectively with your spouse . . .
What to Do if Your Spouse Refuses to Be Amicable During Divorce
Remember that while you probably can’t change your spouse’s decision not to be amicable, you can always choose how you react and respond back to them. Your spouse owns their own behavior — don’t take it personally. Their anger and blaming you is about them, not you.
And don’t worry, even if your spouse refuses to be amicable, you can still play your own game and get to the other side.
If you have a high conflict spouse . . .