Relationships grow and evolve over time, and sometimes people grow apart in their interests and goals. Both you and your current spouse deserve to live happy and fulfilled lives --- even if that means no longer being married to each other. While some are convinced that an amicable divorce is a myth, especially those who have gone through divorce themselves, there are many resources that suggest that divorcing as friends is possible, and can ease the way into a life of independence.
Resolve conflict. In order for your divorce to be amicable rather than bitter, you will want to resolve any lingering conflicts or resentments. Agreements can only be reached when both you and your spouse have released the burden of anger and judgment toward one another and have sufficiently aired grievances and made amends with one another. Once the hatchets are buried, you can move forward in the decision-making process in a way that is fair and respectful of each person's needs.
Acknowledge the love. While you may have had some rip-roaring fights with your spouse, and while you are both positive that you no longer want to live together, this does not mean that you don't have love for each other. Acknowledging the love that you have for your spouse and that your spouse has for you will help you to act with respect and compassion during the divorce process. You don't have to lavish your spouse with attention, affection or praise, but remaining centered in the place that remembers the love between you will make the whole process much more manageable.
Find a non-adversarial lawyer. Some lawyers believe they can only do their job by pitting you against one another and watching one of you go down in flames. If you wish to divorce amicably, the lawyer you choose should be there to help you navigate the legal paperwork required to file a divorce and not to start legal warfare. She should be understanding of your goal to divorce as friends, however lofty, and should support a peaceful process.
Decide with your partner what arrangements you would like to make and present these to the lawyer. The more decisions you can make on your own as a couple before meeting with your lawyer, the better. This will show the lawyer that you stand as a team, and not as individuals who are simply out for their own interest. Decide how you will divide your assets, who will get your home, how you will coordinate custody and who will pay child support to whom and how much.
- Most children feel sadness and fear when their parents announce a divorce, but when they see how friendly and compassionate you are being to one another, they will also be baffled. Their logic is, "If you're getting along so well, why don't you stay married?" They don't understand that the reason you and your spouse are so happy and able to get along so well is because you have both reached the decision that you will not stay married, and this decision brings an enormous relief. Children may have hopes that you will eventually get back together. Explain to them, with compassion, that the divorce is final.
- Psych Central: Helping Kids Cope with Your Amicable Divorce
- How to Divorce as Friends and Maybe Save your Marriage; Bill Ferguson
- Huffington Post: The Myth of the Amicable Divorce
- David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images