Most Americans consider divorce an unpleasant topic as the word often conjures images of two spouses who used to love each other fighting bitterly. However, not every divorce will be like this, and most divorcing couples figure out ways to be civil to each other throughout the process. An amicable divorce does not mean giving up your parental rights or property unjustly, and it does not mean simply signing off on the divorce agreement just to get it done.
An amicable divorce is one in which the divorcing couple work together in a civil manner to resolve their differences. When a divorce involves children, an amicable divorce makes the whole process easier on them when the parents work toward a divorce agreement that is in their children’s best interests.
Forget About Blame
Some marriages end because one spouse did something terrible to the other; others end after long-term deterioration that isn’t the fault of any one party. No matter how a divorce arises, assigning blame or focusing on who is at fault for the divorce doesn’t help anything or anyone involved. Even if your spouse did something awful to compel you to end the marriage, your priority should be to end the marriage quickly and reasonably so you can both get on with your lives. Worrying about blame just builds resentment and makes the process more stressful for everyone.
Swallow Your Pride
There may be aspects of your divorce that infuriate or depress you, and it’s best to try and work through those issues as reasonably as possible. No matter how your divorce came about, worrying about specifics during a divorce hearing will only make things more difficult. Even if your soon-to-be ex-spouse wronged you severely, trying to enact vengeance during divorce proceedings isn’t a good idea. The court assesses each divorcing spouse’s demeanor and if a judge believes you are arguing elements of your divorce in bad faith, he or she will be unlikely to rule in your favor. This is especially important in a divorce with children. Your priority should be making sure the kids have the support they need from the other parent, not taking revenge.
Focus on Your Children
Any divorce involving children will likely be an emotional event. Kids, especially younger children, will not understand what is happening and may lash out in different ways. It’s not uncommon for children experiencing a divorce at home to decline in school performance or act out with behavioral issues. Younger children may show regressive behavior like bedwetting. It’s important for you to answer their questions as best as you can and support them. Work with your spouse to keep your marital issues separate from raising your children, and never try to foster resentment for an ex in your children. This will only hurt your relationships with them later once they learn you tried to manipulate them against their other parent.
It doesn’t matter how your divorce came about – being respectful during hearings and negotiations goes a long way toward making the whole process easier for everyone involved. Keep a level head as best as you can throughout the process. When it comes time to divide property, don’t be bitter about what you do or not receive in this process as property division tends to ultimately even out for both parties.
Once you reach the point where it is time to start negotiating the details of your divorce, then you have already passed the point of no return (in most cases), so don’t worry about blame or resentment. Approaching a divorce respectfully with a level head and your children’s best interests in mind is the best way to encourage an amicable divorce.