In “traditional” divorce proceedings, the divorce lawyers for each side are trying to get the best possible deal for their client, setting up by default an adversarial situation. Contentions over custody, child support, finances, and property are usually aggravated by court proceedings and mean-spirited cross-examinations, setting up hostile conditions for years to come.
I would venture a guess that for many people this belligerent atmosphere is not what they want. They would rather go through the divorce process in a more dignified and peaceful way. But some of you might be wondering if this is even possible – after all, divorce is stressful and brings out a host of unpleasant (or even gut-wrenching) emotions. How can these be overcome to allow for cooperative agreements?
It requires both parties to be willing to compromise, be respectful of each other’s needs, and move beyond past arguments. It’s all about the present and the future. Especially when children are involved, putting aside egos and any desire to “punish” the spouse is necessary to keeping things under control. Leaving behind the bitterness will help you to move forward with your life sooner and make recovery easier, and the children will also benefit.
So how can this be accomplished when the court system makes it nearly impossible? One solution is to work things out using a mediator, or if you are already in agreement on most issues, the assistance of an independent paralegal may be all you need. Divorce support from your local Divorce With Dignity office (findaprovider.dwdignity.com) can help you find the best option for you. The benefits of this non-adversarial approach are many –
- Less stress
- Less expensive
- Uses conflict resolution methods to help you agree and part amicably
- More control over decisions and arrangements
- Direct communication and participation
- Collaborative relationship
- More informal
- More confidential – no need to discuss private issues in a public setting like a courtroom
- Easier to maintain an amicable relationship with your spouse
- Less distressing for the children
If you decide to take this approach, then take the steps to make your way through the divorce with collaboration instead of antagonism. Some ideas for fostering a good relationship with your divorcing spouse are:
- Move beyond the blame. Resolving conflict is not about who is right or wrong, but about learning to deal with each other from this point on.
- Try to agree with your spouse as much as possible, even though this may be difficult for you. Be fair and let them know when they make a good point. Doing this will make for a more respectful atmosphere and they may be more willing to listen to you and compromise on other things. Fighting with the other person makes you a threat and they will automatically put up walls to protect themselves – and when this happens, compromise flies out the window.
- Resist the urge to say negative things about your spouse to your children. Your focus needs to be on helping them to maintain a good relationship with their father or mother.
- Take care of yourself. Seek help if you are overwhelmed by your emotions. Write your feelings in a journal to help reduce stress. Find support from your friends. Get plenty of rest. The better you feel, the easier it will be to be calm and reasonable with your spouse.
- Get all the details in writing and make sure both of you sign and date the document. This can prevent future arguments.
Try to remember the friendship that was once a part of your marriage and make that the basis for working things out cooperatively.
Is a peaceful divorce possible? Absolutely – if you are willing to work for it.
The author of this blog is not an attorney and the information contained in these blogs should not be considered legal advice. The information provided here is based on the experience of the author and some of her clients whose actual names are not mentioned. Do not hesitate to seek the advice of an attorney if you have any legal questions