While it’s hard to see a bright side to the ending of your marriage, the benefits of an amicable divorce speak for themselves. Far from the bitter feelings and increased hurt of endless arguments, amicability can certainly help to ease your pain and make divorce easier to swallow for third parties like your children. Unfortunately, while the vast majority of us intend to keep divorce friendly or at least not filled with arguments, this is a goal far easier said than done.
After all, regardless of the footing on which your marriage has ended, separation is an incredibly difficult process, causing all parties to reassess their lifestyles, make major changes, and face sometimes difficult situations like courtrooms.
Whether you and your partner separated due to something like infidelity, or simply as part of a friendly and mutual agreement, you could quickly find yourselves at loggerheads as a result of this. And, when that happens, not only does divorce become harder to deal with from an emotional standpoint, but it also becomes more difficult to remember that, ultimately, this process is going to be easier if you’re both on the same page.
Even if your divorce is starting to look like a war zone right now, taking steps to address this issue early on is the best way to bring things back together and reduce the distress of all parties. Here, we’re going to help you do that by considering why this process has gone so badly off track, and how exactly you can use that knowledge to once again bring things under control.
Mistake 1: You’re trying to do too much alone
There’s varied advice out there about whether or not you should try and handle your divorce between the two of you, with countless couples at least believing that keeping legal processes out of things is going to prevent the feeling of battle. Unfortunately, as many divorcing couples quickly realize the hard way, this is far from reality. In fact, unmediated and uninformed approaches to private divorce make it more likely that escalating arguments and misunderstandings will take their toll. By comparison, the professional oversight of legal assistance can help to keep things equal, informed, and ultimately more amicable. At least, they will if you seek a solicitor in mind of fairness, rather than to get more for yourself.
Of course, it’s natural that you want to avoid the idea of cross-table arguments that lay your relationship bare for someone you hardly know, but even this needn’t be an accurate representation if you approach it in the right way. After all, many lawyers now actually use remote processes like those you can read more about here to gather the facts on your relationship using depositions from people who know you best. Even when you do have to meet across the legal table, as it were, tailoring your behavior, and making sure of your intentions in advance (as we’ll discuss a little later), means that this can be a quick, efficient process where no arguments are left to fester.
Mistake 2: You’re rushing the process
Once divorce proceedings begin, it makes sense that you would want to hurry the process along so that you can put it behind you and get on with your life. If your partner is also of this mind, then that’s great news for getting things done more quickly. But, if your foot on the pedal has been leading to arguments recently, then it’s a sure sign you could benefit from practicing a little more patience.
The main thing to remember here is that, no matter how much both parties might be on the same page, everyone approaches this highly emotional process at a different speed. If you’re pushing your partner to sign papers and attend meetings when they aren’t emotionally ready for it, it’s only natural that they’ll resist you with a bad attitude, a flaring temper, and an urge to dig their heels in rather than get the thing done. And this is when arguments can start to take their toll.
To avoid this, be patient. As hard as it can be, leaving your partner with divorce papers for a month rather than hounding them every day is the best possible way to ultimately speed things up but to also give each other the space necessary to avoid the loggerheads that could make this process so much worse.
Mistake 3: You’re acting on emotions not knowledge
By its very nature, divorce is an emotional process that involves the unraveling of your life as you knew it, and also often the addressing of incredibly personal and painful issues, experiences, and disagreements. With that in mind, it’s all too easy to let your emotions rule your head and your decisions here. Especially if you’re the wounded party.
Unfortunately, such fully loaded emotions applied throughout this process make arguments and intense disagreements more likely. Not to mention that they can drag out a process in which neither party is working towards the right end goals. As difficult as it can be to do so, you therefore need to make sure that whatever you’re doing here, it comes from a place of unbiased knowledge, rather than those emotions that you’ll better be able to deal with later.
It’s especially important to realize that, legally speaking, ‘fault’ is an irrelevant fact, meaning that getting wound up with arguments here is preventing you from achieving the divorce that you need. Instead, it’s worth always basing your divorce discussions around facts that no one can dispute, such as the length of your marriage, the contributions you both made, your financial needs, and of course technicalities surrounding considerations like child custody and welfare.
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Mistake 4: You don’t know what you want
If you’re forever changing the rules in your divorce or switching with regards to what you want to achieve out of this process, then you may as well be waving a red flag in front of your partner. Whether they’re the wounded party or you are, this makes it inevitable that they’ll snap at some point, and even seek to stand in your way instead of standing by your side for this last time.
To avoid this, it’s essential to know what you want to achieve out of this divorce, and that you stick with that throughout so that things go generally smoother, faster, and that there are no further grounds for disagreement. Taking stock of what you have as a couple is especially important in this sense, allowing you to better determine goals that best serve your needs, those of your children, and even those of your partner.
Either alone or alongside your partner, you particularly need to sit down and consider both your personal and financial goals here, remembering that, legally speaking, divorce proceedings begin at a baseline of 50/50. For the sake of ease, consider first whether this would work for your needs, and if not, why not, and how you can justify that fairly when you make your case (e.g. the need to purchase a new property, custody over your children, etc.). By drawing these clear lines from the start, you can then rest easy not only that it’s more likely you’ll get what you’ve asked for, but also that your partner will have little grounds to argue.
Mistake 5: You aren’t remaining respectful
In many ways, respect is a strange topic when it comes to divorce. After all, some level of respect must have been lost in the relationship to bring you both to this point in the first place. As a result, it’s all too easy to disrespect each other throughout divorce proceedings, but doing so rarely pays off.
The simple fact is that, regardless of what happened with your relationship, a generalized lack of respect for each other is going to make this process harder for both of you. Pointing fingers, expecting apologies, and seeking revenge can be especially harmful here, not to mention that it can send things off-track. After all, none of this is what you’re here for, and you must remember that.
Instead, respect your partner enough to approach this process for what it is – the ending of a relationship that you’ve both already agreed is no longer viable. Following this acknowledgment, approach divorce, at least, with a respectful and ultimately caring outlook. It may even be useful to remember the love you once felt for that person, and use that as a reason for wanting the best for both parties. With this mutually beneficial outlook, you can then start seeking the most peaceful divorce possible before moving on with your life at last.
A final word
Divorce is a time fraught with feeling for everyone, making it only natural that tempers can flare and things can get off-track. But, for both your sanity and that of any children involved, you must avoid this battle in place of a peaceful, informed divorce that provides the best for everyone in the easiest way possible.