Is it possible to have an amicable divorce?
At the time of your separation from your spouse, it may seem almost impossible to imagine you could have an amicable divorce.
Emotions are running high and you are most probably feeling very negatively towards your husband/wife.
Whatever the circumstances for the breakdown of the marriage, it is important to approach your divorce in a sensible manner. This will enable both of you to:
- Salvage a post- divorce relationship. This is particularly important if you have children together and need to have an on-going co-parenting relationship.
- Save money on solicitors’ bills. This will maximise the money and assets available to you both in the financial settlement. No one wants the lawyers to get all the money!
- Keep stress levels to a minimum. This speaks for itself, really. The less stressful the divorce, the easier the recovery process, and the less strain on your physical and emotional health.
Here are some of my tips:
1. Be business-like
This may sound cold but it is important to put aside your personal feelings for your spouse, when approaching the divorce process. Decisions need to be made with your head not your heart. You will eventually heal from the emotional hurt, but you need to have dealt with the divorce in a carefully considered way (particularly regarding children issues and money matters).
2. Get the right support
Having a strong support network is invaluable when you are going through divorce. But choose carefully who you confide in, to ensure you have the right type of support. Friends and family can help on a practical basis, a counsellor can help you process your feelings, and a divorce coach/consultant can support and guide you through the legal process. All these types of support enable you to feel stronger and more in control when dealing with the divorce process.
3. Communicate effectively
Keep open the lines of communication with your spouse. By this I don’t mean arguing all the time; keep communication productive. The more you can discuss and hopefully agree between yourselves, the more straightforward and less expensive the divorce process will be. Divorce Coaching can help you communicate productively with both your spouse and your solicitor.
4. Be respectful
You may be feeling quite negative about your spouse at the moment. But remember, you once loved them, have shared your life with them and perhaps had a family with them. Do not forget they are the other parent to your children. Your children will see how you behave with your spouse. Keep things civil for their sake.
5. Do not sweat the small stuff
Fighting over every small detail during the divorce is bad news. It will increase your stress levels as well as your legal costs. It will also mean the whole process takes longer than is necessary. Look at the bigger picture and make positive, informed decisions.
6. Put the children first
All decisions must be made in the best interests of the children. This creates a positive environment for a co-parenting relationship. Focusing on the children helps distract you from your own feelings, putting you in a stronger position for resolving the issues in the divorce. The children will always remember how their parents dealt with their divorce. Allow them the opportunity to talk positively about how you dealt with things.
The Group Hug says – Take a look in our Hug Directory to find family lawyers – if you are really able to be amicable, you may be able to use a service where you purely get help with the paperwork
7. Find the right solicitor
Solicitors vary greatly. I work with my clients to help them find the right person for them. It is very important to find someone who is a family law specialist with good experience. The client needs to feel comfortable and confident that their solicitor will represent and advise them appropriately. You and your spouse having experienced and sensible solicitors, puts you in a strong position for having an amicable divorce.
8. Be honest
It is important to be honest with your solicitor, your spouse and yourself during your divorce. I am always disappointed when we discover that my client’s spouse has been dishonest about important details in the divorce case. It is unfortunately, very common for some people not to be forthcoming with their financial information. This makes everything more acrimonious between the couple, costs more money in legal costs and means the divorce takes longer to complete.
9. Live in the present
Try not to dwell on the past. Unfortunately, you cannot undo what has been said and done to bring about the divorce. But you can take control over how you decide to approach the divorce process. Live in the present and look to the future.
10. Make informed decisions
You will be living with decisions you make during your divorce, for the rest of your life. Make the right choices for you now and for your future. Getting the right legal advice from your solicitor, and the right support and guidance from your divorce coach, will help you to feel empowered with your important decision making.
Written by Rhiannon Ford a Divorce Consultant based in Surrey.
Find our more in our Hug Directory. Rhiannon is an ex divorce solicitor and has over 20 years’ experience helping people going through divorce and separation.