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Jun 1, 2017

This article was originally published on Divorce and Your Money here.

Amicable divorces often sound like an elusive fantasy. But when discussing the breakdown of a marriage, most people can agree that an amicable divorce is far more beneficial for everyone involved, including your children. The emotional toll that it can take on you is significantly lessened, as well as the financial commitment that it may cost you. When you can develop a settlement without over-the-top feuding, your divorce will be less time-consuming and, as a result, less expensive.

What do you need to know in order to have an amicable divorce? Here are the four must-know secrets that every couple should keep in mind to keep things civil:

1) Take care of yourself.

There will not be anything left for you to give to your spouse or children if taking care of yourself is not your top priority. You must meet your own emotional needs if your ultimate goal is to respond to those around you with kindness. Much as flight attendants instruct prior to a flight, you must put on your own oxygen mask before you can assist others.

Taking care of yourself will look different for each individual, but it will almost always involve finding an outlet for your feelings. To give yourself a safe space to process through your divorce, schedule an appointment to see a therapist or counselor. Some individuals may prefer to schedule time with empathetic friends for coffee or lunch. They can support you during this time and understand what you may be going through.

If neither of those options is available to you, you may consider using anonymous online support through pages like Reddit Divorce. If those around you are not considered trustworthy, it is a great place to emotionally vent when you need to.

2) Refrain from assigning blame.

It can be a great challenge to respond to your spouse with kindness when you are solely focused on who to blame. When it comes to divorce, you should be focused on the bigger picture, including the long-term implications of your developing settlement. Focusing on blame can create a situation that involves spiting the other person, sparking arguments, and confronting each other during the negotiation process.

In order to keep from assigning blame during every interaction, remind yourself of the bigger picture: your marriage is ending, and you both need to create an equitable settlement that will ensure your future, as well as that of any children involved. Keep your attention on the issues at hand, not on the ones that led up to this moment.

3) Prioritize your children.

Children see and soak up everything around them, including any hostility you are expressing toward your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Remember that your settlement is supposed to be a long-term plan that gives both of you space to create a fulfilling childhood for them. Part of that childhood should include being raised in a healthy environment, not surrounded by the toxicity of your relationship with your spouse.

Remind yourself that speaking negatively about the other parent is not good for them to experience. Keep their needs at the forefront of your mind, rather than your own.

4) Opt for mediation over litigation.

It may go without saying, but mediation can be significantly friendlier than litigation. Opting for a less drastic method of divorce like mediation gives you plenty of opportunities to openly communicate with one another. As you divide your finances and assets, you will have the ability to share your reasoning about specific desires or demands. When done properly, this sharing can help both parties reach reasonable conclusions about what is most important to them.

The conversations that ensue during mediation can begin to set the stage for future encounters and communications. You gain the ability to have perspective and understand both sides of the argument.

Because an amicable mediation is typically less time-consuming than litigation, the financial obligation could be significantly lower. If the cost of divorce is a major concern, this method of divorce should be highly considered. It allows you to have a more amicable divorce and set the stage for future communication with each other, and you can both save substantial amounts on your final bills.

Creating a Healthy Environment during Divorce

No one wants to live in the toxicity of a dramatic relationship, filled with bitter arguments and snide comments. An amicable divorce is the perfect solution for most couples, who want to set the stage for a future relationship with each other—even if it is only for the sake of the children involved. There are many benefits to creating this type of environment.

You can experience greater emotional well-being and fewer financial obligations, and your children will be raised with an example of open communication, even when facing difficult circumstances. Consider what you and your spouse could do to promote a more amicable divorce moving forward.

Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA is the host of the “Divorce and Your Money Show” and Managing Partner of LaGrande Global, with offices in Dallas, New York and Hanover, New Hampshire.

 

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