Divorce on peaceful terms is far easier and will certainly cost less than a divorce full of contention. An amicable divorce is also far better if you have children. After all, you’re going to continue to be involved somewhat in each other’s lives. But if your spouse doesn’t want a divorce, he or she may put up a fight, making the entire process a lot more difficult.
How can you convince them to divorce amicably?
First, remember you do not need her permission to divorce. If you want a divorce, legally, there is nothing to stop you from taking that action.
Next, remember that while you have been thinking about divorce for some time, your spouse may feel surprised and shocked by this announcement. Even if he or she agrees the marriage is struggling, he/she may not want to get divorced. Hiring an attorney and throwing the papers at him is probably not going to help make it easier. Instead, try these approaches:
The Talk – Consider carefully when and where to share your decision. Make sure it’s a time there are no outside distractions and you are both seated. Prepare a speech. That sounds silly to some, but it’s important to choose your words carefully, aiming for a calm, sympathetic approach. Be prepared for him/her to need some time to process the news.
Counseling – One way to reach a more amicable agreement is to try counseling. While you may feel the marriage is over and that couples counseling won’t help, offering this olive branch will smooth the way toward an easier divorce. Tell your spouse up front that you aren’t confident, but agree to try (and really do). Even if your marriage isn’t helped by counseling, the process may help your partner agree the marriage is over and prepare him/her for divorce. Some therapists offer discernment counseling, which is specific to couples considering divorce.
Mediation/Arbitration – If you feel your divorce is going to get ugly, talk to your spouse about mediation or arbitration. This way you can try to reach an agreement about money and children outside of the courtroom. Also, if she/he is willing, create your own parenting agreement together. This keeps your children out of child custody battles in the courtroom.
Remain Calm – One important part of this process is to remain in control of your own actions. You may feel furious that she has turned divorce into a big fight, but the best thing to do is to remain calm (at least on the outside) and continue treating her with respect. You cannot control your spouse’s actions or reactions. In the end, your divorce may turn into a fight instead of the amicable split you sought no matter what you do. At that point, you might seek therapy for yourself in an effort to get through the process.
Did you get through divorce amicably with your spouse? If you have questions about divorce, contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our divorce attorneys, or just join us each month for our divorce workshop, which happens on the second Saturday of every month. An attorney, a therapist, and a financial advisor volunteer time each month to share important information about the divorce process and answer your questions.