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5 Tips for a Less Combative Divorce

The process of going through a divorce is obviously difficult, and all too frequently an ugly experience. Inevitably there are always reasons why spouses feel that they need to fight tooth and nail to "take their spouse to the cleaners". While we understand the anger, fear and resentment that can accompany a divorce, focusing on a more positive divorce process can benefit both spouses and the entire family. If you are searching for ways to execute your divorce without the nastiness, instead focusing on being decent to each other and trying to manage your split with your ex in as positive a manner as possible, here are our top 5 tips for you:

  1. Address your parenting plan to your children. If you start writing your parenting plan by addressing your children directly (such as "Dear Jennifer and Matt"), chances are that you will focus more on what is in their best interest, and not what makes you feel good. Picture your children reading the parenting plan, and if they are old enough to read it, share your parenting plan with them. Above all, continue to show a united front to your children. Parenting is a team effort that shouldn't end when your marriage does.
  2. Agree up front on how to resolve issues. Change is inevitable. Things will come up as issues that you never considered, so it is a good idea to discuss how you and your ex-spouse will address and work through any disagreements that arise along the path life takes you. One of you might lose your job, one of you might want to go back to grad school, one of you might want to start a business...these are all just examples of things that could come up and cause issues between the two of you. The key is not laying out all the "what ifs" that might occur, but the process that you will use if something comes up that you can't agree on, such as professional mediation. Write the process you plan to use down so everyone is clear.
  3. Resist old patterns of behavior. Many people find one of the best aspects of divorce is that you no longer have to deal with the irritations, disappointments, and quirks of your partner. The same goes for your partner, so this means you shouldn't put yourself in the situations where you might continue to experience these feelings. It can be easy to lean on or unload on your partner, especially if you spent many years together, however this does not facilitate moving on to the new state of your relationship. Find other family members and friends if you need to talk or need support, and let your partner know that you will expect him to do the same.
  4. Continue to get together as a family. Sure, your family doesn't live together anymore, but you and your partner will continue to be connected for a lifetime if you have children.One of the worst things you can do to your children is force them to choose either you or your spouse to spend their holidays, birthdays, or special events with. We have seen some parents refuse to be in the same room together 20 years after their marriage has ended, and their children are grown adults. Simply put, this is quite immature and still harmful to your adult children. Demonstrate early on that even though you are divorced, your children still have two parents that love them and value each other.
  5. Consider mediation. Divorce mediation can deliver positive outcomes for couples who elect to use it. Many couples choose mediation because of its affordable cost, the privacy it offers, and the fact that an agreement can usually be reached within a few months. Mediation is becoming a more common choice among celebrities and high net worth individuals due to these benefits. Another major benefit of divorce mediation is that it protects your children from the divorce process, which can be frightening and harsh for young children.

What do you think about these tips? Have you heard of other ways to have a positive divorce experience?

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