Sometimes, no matter how hard you work to save your marriage, it can’t be saved and a divorce becomes necessary. If you’ve been working to keep things civil with your ex-spouse, you probably want to settle things as cleanly as possible, especially if you have children.
Settling a divorce in an amicable way, and keeping it away from the courts, can make that civility easier.
- Use good family law solicitors. They can advise you on the best route you and your partner to keep things conciliatory. A good lawyer will do everything they can to keep you out of court.
- Try mediation. You’ll both meet with a trained mediator, who will let you talk through differences of opinion and help you to resolve them. They can help you come to an agreement that is fair to you both, which you can then have drawn up in legal documents by your family lawyer. Agreeing together saves you from fighting for a fair settlement in court.
- Collaborative divorce. Both of you will have to sign up to a non-confrontational approach, which can be difficult when emotions are high but will help to come to an amicable arrangement. Each of you will engage lawyers who will collaborate, through a series of meetings, with both of you and your solicitors. Together, you’ll reach an agreement.
- Put your children first. If you have children, a court will always put their needs first during the divorce proceedings. If you’re avoiding court, do the same. Put first whatever is best for your children. Put aside your own hurt feelings or anger, and focus on coming to an agreement that will be easiest on your kids.
- Try and forget the little things. If you’re angry and upset, it can be hard to get stuck on fighting over small details just to win. If you find yourself fighting for something that doesn’t really matter, like a specific day to see the children, try and remember what really matters. Keep things amicable so you can make sensible, fair arrangements, and not get stuck in a courtroom spending a lot of money on deciding who gets to keep your record collection.
- Be realistic. Divorce negotiations may start at a 50/50 split, but it’s unlikely that this is how things will actually go. Your lawyer will help you to predict what you can realistically expect, based on custody arrangements and income, and be prepared. A fair deal may not be splitting things down the middle, so don’t push for it if your lawyer doesn’t think it’s likely you’ll get it.
- Be prepared to compromise. You’re not going to get everything you want, and if you want to keep negotiations civil, you need to be able to compromise. It’s not worth digging your heels in over everything. Save the fight for the things that are really important to you to keep things going smoothly.
If you can keep your divorce from turning nasty, it’s far more likely you’ll be able to stay on civil terms, which is essential if you share children. Stay realistic, remember why you’re doing this and save yourself the cost, stress, and hurt of a court battle.