How to plan an amicable divorce


Step One

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

Step Two

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.

Step Three

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.

Step Four

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.

Step Five

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.

Step Six

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.

Step Seven

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.

Step Eight

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.

Step Nine

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.

Step Ten

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

Step Eleven

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.

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