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How to plan an amicable divorce

by eHow Relationships & Family Editor

Divorce can be a painful process for all parties involved. Moreover, when minor children are in the mix, the emotional stakes often soar. Therefore, do what you can to prevent the emotional rollercoaster of divorce from escalating out of control by not hitting your spouse below the belt or allowing your emotions overrule your head. Take the high road and get it over with. Doing so will enable you to move on with your life sooner and hopefully, help you recover from the toxicity of the situation in a healthier manner.

Talk to an experienced domestic relations lawyer to better understand your rights under your state's divorce laws.

Hiring the right attorney to represent you, especially if the divorce is going to feature some contested matters, is among the most important decisions you will make in your divorce. According to Brad Frick, a domestic relations lawyer in Columbus, Ohio with nearly 30 years of experience, choosing a lawyer who knows the judges in your county is very important. He says that attorneys familiar with the judges often have a better inkling of how a judge will rule on certain matters.

If your divorce is getting nasty, be assertive with your spouse and your lawyer. Decide what you want and need and insist on it. Your future (and your children's) depends on it. However, as difficult as it may be, remember your expectations should also be realistic. The judge has the final say in your case's outcome, not you.

If your relationship with your divorcing spouse has deteriorated, but you must meet, for example, to exchange your children for visitation times, do so in neutral locations. Meeting at the home where the two of you once lived together often conjures painful memories. Also, meeting at the ex's new bachelor or bachelorette pad brings up too much painful speculation.

As difficult as it may be for you, try to agree with your ex on as much as possible. If he or she makes a good point, say so. He or she might be more inclined to compromise on other things. This is especially true when children are involved. You will still have to work together to parent your children despite being divorced, and while that will be hard at times, remember you're doing it for your children.

Nail down all the details in writing. If you both agree on things and it's on paper, you won't have as much to argue about later. Then, once your agreement is written down and you both agree to the terms, you should both sign and date the document. Merely writing down your wishes and then arguing you both agreed on the conditiions, when that's really not so is not going to help matters.

Review your goals (see 16 Set Goals) and write down a list of things you've always wanted to do in your life: The day has come to begin your new life. Resist the urge, however, to broadcast your excitement about new loves (both people and activities) lest you sound like you're showing off to your ex. That is not moving on.

Don't disparage your spouse to your children. Help them maintain a good relationship with their father or mother. See 264 Blend Families and 288 Make Child Custody Arrangements.

Take care of yourself. The more rested you are and the better you feel about yourself, the more rational you'll be with your ex.

Use your friends for moral support, but don't keep rehashing the same complaints. Cultivate new friends and new topics of discussion, too.

First and foremost, consider the best interests of your children. Do what's best for them. The divorce was not their fault but they will have to suffer the consequences of the failure of your marriage. Be patient and considerate of their feelings.

Tips

  • For additional resources, check out www.divorcenet.com.
  • Seek professional counseling if you are overcome with bitterness or anger over the end of your marriage.

Warnings

  • Seek expert (legal, financial, emotional) help. Your future and that of your children is at stake. Divorce is not a DIY matter that impacts only you.
  • Try your best to keep the divorce out of court by trying to negotiate and agree with your soon-to-be ex as much as possible. Warring parties often turn to mediation to help them resolve legal conflicts, and that might help your situation, too.