You don’t have to go to war to get divorced. Today, more divorcing couples are opting for non-traditional paths to end their marriages that focus on reducing conflict and the costs associated with divorce. It is possible to have an amicable divorce even with a difficult partner and even if you both have lawyers – if you can both agree to abide by the following guidelines. Study after study has shown, it isn’t divorce that damages the children, its the level of conflict between their divorcing parents. Get this part right, and you have a fighting chance at an amicable divorce and a healthy co-parenting relationship in the years ahead.
- Make a commitment to leave blame behind
- Stay focused on the big picture
- Be transparent and negotiate in good faith
- Put your kids first
- Agree to stay out of litigation and settle via mediation
1. Drop the Blame Game
The reasons your marriage failed are really no longer relevant, especially in a no-fault divorce state like Florida. You aren’t required to prove wrong doing in court and so the days of mud-slinging are long over. You are not going to find emotional justice in your divorce. The court’s aim is to as equitably as possible divide assets, debts, costs, and timesharing of the children. Treat your divorce as a business deal, and leave your emotions to a therapist, support group or trust friend.
2. Keep the Big Picture in Mind
Make a list of what is the most important for you and be willing to let the rest go. Don’t get caught up in fighting over every little detail. Stay focused on what matters to you most and be willing to compromise. You may even be technically entitled to a particular asset, but is it worth the fight? Know what’s worth it and what isn’t.
3. Be Transparent
Be sure to disclose everything and be honest. I was recently hired by client who discovered during mediation (without lawyers) that her husband had been hiding an account from her for years. This sent them back to the drawing board, and they spent double the amount of money than had he just been upfront from the beginning. Plus- whatever trust she had in negotiating with him was now destroyed and things became deeply contentious. Don’t hide things, it always gets discovered and it never ends well.
4. Put Your Kids First
Be willing to think about their best interests before your own. Yes, its a drag to share your kids on Christmas but what would they want? Don’t they deserve to see both of their parents on the holiday? As parents, we always sacrifice our own needs for what is best for our children, and in divorce this is even more important.
5. Stay Out of Litigation
Just because you hire lawyers, doesn’t mean you have to go to court. In fact, 95% of divorce cases in Florida settle out of court. All cases are required to go to mediation prior to litigation. Litigation is by its very definition adversarial, there are winners and losers. But mediation places you and your soon-to-be-ex in the driver’s seat of your family’s future through finding ways to compromise and work together. Scorched earth is not the way to a healthy co-parenting relationship.
It is possible to have an amicable divorce, even when things are tense, it just takes a little commitment. Make sure to find out if your lawyer is aligned with these values, and ask them if they are open to staying out of litigation and helping you find an amicable resolution to your case. Call the office today 813.322.2082 to set up a consultation to discuss which amicable resolution options are right for your family.