An amicable divorce is always worth a try, even if it’s not always possible. After all, your marriage isn’t done and dusted the minute you sign the divorce papers. You and your ex-spouse will have several different matters to address together throughout the process, and if you have children you’ll likely remain in contact for life. Even if it seems like a faraway goal, there are steps you can take to establish a healthier, more friendly relationship with your ex. The possible results can include a smoother overall divorce experience, more equitable compromises, and a better example for your children.
- Come to terms with the split
Clients come to my office experiencing many different stages of grief; some have been mentally preparing for their divorce for months or even years, while others had no idea this path was even possible for their marriage until the moment they sit down in my office. Divorce can be a long process with serious emotional impact, and no one expects you to recover overnight. That said, you may want to take some time to deal with your grief, anger, and other emotions before you jump headfirst into legal proceedings, discussions about dividing assets, and logistical matters. If you give yourself time to come to terms with your divorce, you’ll be able to face important decisions with a clear head.
- Think of the children
If you otherwise feel very little motivation to stay friendly with your ex-spouse, you can always fall back on your kids. Keep them in mind when you’re tempted to act negatively towards your ex. Married or not, your relationship still has an impact on your children. When you maintain a healthy, amicable attitude about your ex-spouse, your children are more likely to become well-adjusted to the divorce.
- Swallow your pride
It’s easy to become frustrated when the time comes to divide your property and assets. Oftentimes when you’re arguing about who gets to keep what, it can be more about the principle of the matter, rather than your need to keep a particular item. If you can swallow your pride and make compromises, especially where the children are concerned, you’ll make the process much easier.
- Choose your battles
It’s not about “who started it”—it’s about working together to keep the peace. If you feel the need to argue your point on a particular matter, by all means, stand your ground. Focus on your non-negotiables in these cases. If you pick your battles wisely rather than fighting about every little thing, you’ll be more likely to see eye-to-eye on the most important matters.
Honesty is key. You may be divorced, but that doesn’t mean your ex-spouse doesn’t need to trust you. It’s important to be open about your needs, as well as circumstances in your life that your ex may want to know about, like a new relationship. Good communication can also make it easier to manage the children and head off potential misunderstandings.
- Consider ADR
If you really want to feel resentful towards your ex-spouse, get into a long, expensive, and stressful court battle with them. On a more serious note, you may want to consider alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods like collaborative divorce and mediation. They tend to work in the spirit of cooperation and compromise, making it easier for you to get along while managing your affairs.
- Find professional support
You are likely to have plenty of frustrations about your ex post-divorce. When it comes to dealing with those frustrations, a therapist or counsellor’s office may be the best place to air your dirty laundry. It will provide you with a safe space to deal with your emotions (rather than venting on social media), as well as professional guidance, without spoiling a friendly relationship with your ex-spouse.
- Practice self-care
Not everything has to be about your ex. In fact, now that you’re separated, you should take more time to focus on yourself. Experts recommend a range of self-care practices like wellness coaching, meditation, exercise, spending time with friends and family, eating well, and getting enough sleep. A sound mind and body will help you approach the stresses of divorce with greater ease.
An amicable divorce takes effort and commitment, but it’s always possible—and very beneficial. At Easterling Family Law, PLLC, we understand that this is a sensitive time in your life. We can provide you with the effective legal services you need along with the compassionate approach you deserve. Contact us to learn about collaborative divorce, mediation, and other options.