There are 5 ways to divorce amicably and avoid the common mistakes made that create huge costs and long-term emotional distress. The key is to make sure one of you does not simply give in on critical issues to avoid conflict because this creates an imbalance that can harm both of you and your children. Here are tips and techniques you can use to reach a good outcome without fighting.
Reduce Conflict – The number one thing you can do to improve results is to reduce conflict. Less conflict saves time, money, stress, and maintains relationships with children, family, and friends. When calm effective communication is difficult, take a break, try different methods of communication, as well as neutral third-party professionals to guide the conversation.
Work toward common goals – Finding shared goals and mutually beneficial tradeoffs keeps your focus on positive aspects of working together and fosters cooperation that will create momentum. One tip is to put issues to into three buckets: 1 – What you agree on now, 2 – What you can work to agree on, 3 – Tough topics you will come back to later.
Identify power imbalances – Imbalances of power are any factors that give one of you an advantage over the other. Examples include differences in education, knowledge, and information about law, finances, and negotiation as well as emotional issues surrounding guilt and fear. You both benefit from identifying and eliminating any imbalances of power. As a weaker spouse, you benefit from a level playing field and fair outcome. Less obvious is the benefit to you when you have greater power when you avoid an expensive and lengthy court battle because your spouse doesn’t see any other alternative is fair.
Be wary of Friend-ucation – Another way you can divorce amicably is to limit input from well-meaning friends and family. While these connections provide needed emotional support, they create a lot of problems with additional advice because they lack specific expertise. The result is usually costly mistakes emotionally and financially. Trust me, your friend is not an expert no matter how many times they got divorced.
Get help when needed – Engaging professionals does not mean you have to fight in court. In fact, most divorcing couples utilize professionals out of court to guide them through the process, address imbalances of power, and provide critical legal and financial information as well as emotional support to avoid costly mistakes. You can engage professionals in both an ad-hoc manner and established out-of-court alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation and collaboration that lead to far better outcomes.
Finding ways to work together with your spouse through your divorce will improve both of your lives now and in the future. Don’t be afraid to get help when needed. If you get the right help from the right professionals at the right time for the right things, you will get the right results at the right price.