The idea of having to navigate your way through a divorce is enough to make anyone feel overwhelmed by feelings of stress.
You’re going to need to think about how you and your spouse will disentangle your lives. You’ll most likely need a new way to manage your finances, potentially find somewhere new to live, and work out new parenting arrangements if you have kids.
It is certainly understandable that for many people, the divorce process is unpleasant. However, while the end of relationship can be upsetting, the process of separating and divorcing doesn’t have to as difficult as you may expect.
The way you conduct yourself during the process of divorce can influence and impact your future and the future of others. But this impact doesn’t need to be negative.
We’re not saying that it’s going to be a walk in the park but with a purposeful approach, an amicable divorce is possible.
In this article, we’re going to discuss the idea of an amicable divorce and/or separation – what it is, what the benefits of taking an amicable approach are, and how you can achieve this.
What is an amicable divorce?
An amicable divorce involves both spouses working together to reach a favourable outcome for both parties. It will involve negotiation and compromise, but ultimately, the aim is to be able to take control of the situation and make decisions that are going to bring you and your family through the difficult process of separating and divorcing and arrive in a place that sets you all up for the best future possible.
Many people approach their separation or divorce with the intention of being amicable, however raw emotion can end up overruling and lead them to making decisions that may hurt the other party.
For an amicable separation to really be successful, each spouse has to make a conscious effort to do the hard work that is involved. You need to understand your options and your goals to be able to work towards them.
It’s not easy and you will feel all sorts of feelings in the process, but being able to take control of your situation, make decisions for your future and the future of your family, and not let a breakup ruin your life makes the leg work worth it. While it might be clear that there can be a number of benefits for all parties when you can separate amicably, it’s also important to acknowledge that it’s not always going to be possible. In situations where domestic or family violence, substance abuse, coercion or mental health issues are present, an amicable split is very unlikely.
What are the benefits of ending a marriage amicably?
An amicable split is beneficial to many people, not just the spouses in the relationship. Here are some of the benefits of an amicable split:
· Save time and money, and reduce stress
It’s no secret that a separation or divorce has a financial impact on all parties involved. It usually involves big changes to living arrangements which can be expensive, as well as changes to financial support and earning capabilities. In addition to this, if you and your former partner cannot agree how to split assets or on parenting matters, then you may need to work with lawyers, endure dispute resolution, or go through court proceedings to have decisions made for you. All of these things are additional expenses to the already significant changes you need to make – not to mention that they add extra stress to an already stressful situation.
· You can make decisions about your own future
When you and your spouse are able to work amicably together, you can make your own decisions and take control of your own future. When people who are separating cannot work together or agree on these things, it may result in court proceedings where decisions and arrangements will be made that you may have little choice in the outcomes.
· It can help to maintain some sense of stability that you’ve worked towards
While many people jump to the conclusion that if a relationship is ending in divorce, then something bad must have happened, but the reality is, that is not always the case. Relationships can just end for simple reasons such as it has run its course. Being in a position to decide to end a relationship before something negative has happened is a really positive thing. It can allow you to work together to make decisions that allow you both (and your children if you have them) to maintain the stability that you have had in the relationship and family.
· It makes co-parenting and future interactions easier
If you have had children together, you’re both responsible for those children. If they are under 18, then you’re most likely going to be making big decisions about their future and being able to do that rationally together is going to make it easier for both of you and for your children. Realistically, your kids are going to be in your life for the rest of your life, and this also increases the likelihood of you needing to see or interact with your former spouse in the future. If you’ve been able to split amicably and put your children first, it can make it easier on both of you. You can learn more about effective co-parenting here.
· It can make the separation easier for everyone in your lives
While the way a divorce or separation affects you and your family is the most important aspect, it’s still important to remember that a split affects many different people, including your extended family, friends and even colleagues. You do need to make decisions that are best for you and your family but being able to do so amicably can make it easier for everyone else in your lives too.
Why are divorces so difficult?
Even when everyone agrees that a divorce is the best step forward, getting divorced is still difficult.
The way a divorce affects a person will be different for everyone but the two biggest obstacles that make divorces and amicability difficult are:
It’s not uncommon for people to approach a divorce or separation with feelings of anger and resentment. Big changes have probably already started happening and there are plenty more that are going to come, and the fear and stress of uncertainty can make it difficult to work through.
Even the actions of well-meaning friends and family members can make the emotional aspect of divorce even more difficult. Sometimes friends and/or family members may make comments, intending to make you feel better, but this can result in confusing emotions too.
Working with a professional, such as a counsellor, to help keep your emotions in check and provide you with an outlet to talk can reduce some of the emotional effect.
A lack of understanding of their rights and responsibilities
Unless you’ve separated or divorced before, it’s very unlikely that you will understand everything that is involved in the process. Because the process already may involve a number of uncertainties, not being aware of everything that needs to be done can lead to tensions rising.
A divorce is simply the legal process of ending a marriage, in addition to this, you need to work through splitting your property and assets as well as creating arrangements regarding how you will parent your children.
Working with a lawyer can help you overcome these obstacles, which will discuss further shortly.
How you can make the divorce process more amicable
If you and your former spouse want to work towards an amicable split, then there are a number of things you can do to make the process easier. Like we said earlier, it’s still not going to be a walk in the park, but it could be made significantly easier with these tips:
· Figure out what is important to both of you
The general goal of an amicable split is that both parties will come through the process in a good position, but it’s important to know what that means for you specifically. What do you need in order to feel comfortable? What are your desired outcomes? While you may need to compromise and negotiate as part of the split, if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve it can make it a lot more difficult to feel good about your split.
· Understand what you need to do
As we touched on above, one of the biggest obstacles to amicability is a lack of understanding about what needs to happen as part of your separation/divorce. You need to arm yourself with knowledge about the different things you need to decide on and how to do this. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you with this.
· Negotiate and compromise based on knowledge not emotion
When you are trying to create arrangements and agreements with your ex-partner, you don’t want to be making decisions based on anger or sadness or any emotions really. The aim is to make logical decisions that are going to lead you all to a favourable outcome. Don’t let emotion overrule anything.
· Put the children first
Many people choose to amicably split for the sake of their children. This is because they are going to need to parent and make decisions for their children together, and most likely have interactions or be involved in family situations with their former partner in the future. So, when making decisions or when you are feeling feelings of frustration, it’s important to remember why you’re doing this in the first place and make the decisions where the outcome is best for your kids. This might mean having to compromise more than you thought in certain situations.
· Choose your battles
The process of any separation or divorce is lengthy, even when you can agree on most things. That’s because there are lots of things to do and think about, and lots of decisions need to be made. This can also mean that certain issues or feelings may crop up every now and then. But it’s important to remember to pic your battles. Not every decision needs to be combative or result in an argument.
· Don’t rush the process
As we mentioned above, the process of separating or divorcing from someone is lengthy process because there are lots of decisions that need to be made. It’s also at a time of change for all people involved, so try not to rush the process. In the early days of a separation, emotions may be raw and more challenging to deal with and manage.
· Find support
Support can come in all sorts of forms. Whether it is confiding in friends, finding a support group, counselling services, or seeking the help of a lawyer. You might just need to talk about things, or you might feel like you need more information and understanding. All or any of these types of support can be beneficial, so don’t be afraid to lean on someone else.
How a lawyer can help you
A divorce lawyer can help you in a variety of ways, even in an amicable split. While many people may associate a lawyer with court proceedings and the escalation of a situation, the reality is that a lawyer can also just help you to understand what is required when you are separating.
They can offer advice and information, and they can also help to make any agreements that you and your former partner create legally enforceable too. There are lots of steps involved in a separation and many of which you that you may not be aware of, but ensuring you’re covering all your bases can make the process even faster.
If you do end up needing someone to help you negotiate or represent you, a divorce lawyer can help you there too.
Our Divorce Lawyers Can Help You Today
A divorce is difficult but with the help of the right experienced and compassionate divorce lawyer it can be a lot easier and more manageable.
At Unified Lawyers, we pride ourselves on providing our clients with a safe and friendly environment where they can be heard and helped with their family law matters.
You can discuss your situation with us today during a free consultation.
Call us today on 1300 667 461 or use the button below to organise your consultation.