Coming to the decision that you need a divorce is painful, scary, and overwhelming. The way the media portrays divorce doesn’t help!
Your divorce proceedings don’t have to be that way. There are couples who have peaceful divorces and minimize the pain for all parties.
Learn eight ways to copy their success below.
1. Keep Blame Out of It
Having a divorce on good terms is hard, but it’s impossible if you put blame into the equation. If one partner feels like they have less control or that they’re being gypped in proceedings, feelings will get (extra) hurt.
While one person’s actions may have initiated your split, do your best to see and discuss your decision as mutual. If you can take your ego out of the mix, you’ll have a better chance of peaceful divorce.
2. Find a Counselor
In simple terms, a divorce is a rejection. The rejection of you as a partner, of your partner or the life you’ve built together.
Even if you came to divorce as a mutually beneficial solution, it can still cause emotional pain. If this pain goes untreated or undiscussed, it comes out as bitterness or anger during divorce proceedings.
You’ll be much more likely to have a peaceful divorce if you have someone who can talk through your feelings with you. While it’s nice to talk with friends, a professional can give you unbiased advice and techniques.
If you’ve worked with a couples counselor before, they’re a great person to go to. Ask them if they’d do a private session.
3. Find the Right Lawyer
Though it seems counter-intuitive, friendly divorces aren’t common. So many divorce attorneys won’t expect you to go this route. Clarify that you’re trying to keep things peaceful when you initially reach out.
Most people find their lawyers by recommendation, but it’s good to consider up to three attorneys.
Call three choices, on the initial conversation ask them about the type of client they usually represent. If they cater to big-money cases or name drop, that’s not the type.
If they seem on board, follow up and ask about their rates. Some lawyers charge a retainer fee, which is like a deposit for their services.
After they reveal their rates, compare them to the other quotes you’ve heard. Or google the median lawyer rate in your area.
Once you’ve actively compared all your choices, go with your gut. Even if they’re a little out of your price range or they are number two on your, your rapport matters.
4. Write Out Your Non-Negotiables
With your lawyer and away from your spouse, write out the things you aren’t willing to compromise. This may be a list of assets or that you want the kids to do Christmas with your mom.
Rank these non-negotiables on a list of importance, knowing that you may have to give on a few.
Once you have a list you feel good about, compare it with your spouses. Most likely you’ll see items that are important to each of you, like keeping the kids lives as unchanged as possible.
5. Don’t “Stay For the Kids”
There are many parents who put up with an unhappy marriage because they think it’ll be better for the kids. However, the opposite is true.
Though divorce has effects on children, seeing their parents consistently unhappy or living in a high-conflict household does more harm.
Seeing an unhealthy marriage gives children warped expectations for their eventual love life.
6. Incorporate Co-Parenting Into Your Divorce
When you’re setting the terms of your peaceful divorce, ask yourself “how can we ensure as much equal parenting time as possible?”.
Let go of the idea that one parent “gets” the kids. That creates envy, anger, and disparity.
Instead, look at options that keep the resemblance of the family as normal as possible. Can you and your ex have family dinners with the kids once a week?
If your kids are old enough, you could ask them for co-parenting ideas. Ask them how they’d like to see your co-parenting arrangement go. You’d be surprised at the depth of their insight.
If they’re too young, ask your attorney for their ideas. Do your research and read a few books on the subject before finalizing any decisions.
Letting the kids see you having an amicable divorce will reduce some of their pain and suffering.
7. Create Safe Spaces in The Community
Depending on how long you were married, your social circles may overlap with your soon-to-be ex. This may be a lot for you to handle in the early days, even in a friendly divorce.
Find a community space where you don’t have to think about your ex. This can be a church group, a group of coworkers or workout partners.
Having a divorce-free space will help you in creating your new, separated life.
8. Find a Hobby
While this seems like oversimplified advice, it will save you a lot of sanity. During and after the divorce, you’ll need to redefine part of your identity.
For a long time you were ____’s partner and though that didn’t define you, it’s going to take some adjustment to get used to.
Finding a hobby that you like and thrive with is a way to find a new identity. Maybe now you’re the artist or the star tennis player. When choosing your hobby, it’s best to go down one of two roads.
Either find a hobby that’s soothing like knitting or one that gets aggression out like kickboxing. You’ll know what’s right for you.
The Key to A Peaceful Divorce
At the end of the day, the key to a peaceful divorce is looking at the big picture. The best article on the internet or the best lawyer in the world can’t make a divorce hurt less.
When everything is hard or you’re getting frustrated in mediation, remember why you’re doing this. It may be for you, for the kids, or so you can embark on a new part of your life.
Our lawyers will do their best to help remind you of that along the way. Talk to our attorneys about your impending friendly divorce and see how easy we can make the process.