Over the last several years, I’ve posted various articles about what it means to have an amicable divorce, and whether achieving this is even possible.
The word amicable means "to be characterized by friendly goodwill," or "peaceable." When couples decide that it’s time for a divorce, they might not be feeling a lot of friendly goodwill toward each other. Is it possible to overcome the conflicts and have a peaceful divorce?
Our view at Divorce with Dignity is that if a couple is willing to work for it—and there are plenty of good reasons to make such an effort—a peaceful, amicable divorce is definitely possible. In fact, we’ve seen it work for thousands of people.
Some folks might think that having an amicable divorce means you have to give in on issues of importance in order to keep things friendly. This is not the case. It just means working things out in a cooperative and fair manner so that you end up with a divorce agreement that works for everyone.
Some people might think litigation will get them more of what they want. But by taking the case to court, they are actually giving up control over the decisions that will affect their lives, and spending a whole lot of time and money to do it—not to mention the added stress of a bitter court battle.
The reason you are divorcing is to end a marriage that was in conflict. Do you really want to prolong the conflict and pain by taking your spouse to court?
An amicable divorce process allows you to plan for your future with mutually agreed-upon decisions, and get on with your life.
What does it take to achieve an amicable divorce?
- Put your emotions aside. Leave behind any feelings of wanting to "punish" your spouse. Be willing to move beyond past arguments, and let go of blame.
- Think of it as negotiating a treaty with tact and diplomacy.
- Be respectful of each other’s needs.
- Be willing to compromise.
When negotiating the divorce agreement with your spouse, here are some tips:
- Make a prioritized list of what you want, and don’t be afraid to ask for it.
- If you give something away, make sure you are getting something in return.
- Really listen to your spouse’s side. Try to agree with your spouse as much as possible, even though this may be difficult. Be fair. Doing this will make for a more respectful atmosphere, and subsequently, your spouse may be more willing to listen to you and compromise on other things. Fighting with the other person makes you a threat. He/she will automatically put up walls as a means of protection, and when this happens, compromise flies out the window.
- Show your spouse how his/her needs will be met.
This article originally appeared at Divorce with Dignity.