The mere thought of navigating through a divorce or relationship breakup can be daunting and stressful for anyone. There are just so many factors to consider, from finances to finding a new place to live. And if you have kids, you need to work out parenting arrangements.
While the process of separating and divorcing can be unpleasant and emotionally taxing, it doesn’t necessarily have to be as difficult and overwhelming as it may seem. The way you approach your divorce and your conduct throughout the process can have a large impact on your future.
An amicable divorce isn’t necessarily easy, but it is attainable with the right approach. This article will explore the concept of an amicable divorce or separation, its benefits, and how you can achieve it.
Before we dive right in, please note that we use the term divorce throughout this article to cover all aspects of a separation, like parenting and property matters, rather than just meaning the documentation that says you’re no longer legally married.
What does amicable divorce mean?
In an amicable divorce, both partners collaborate to achieve a mutually beneficial resolution. This requires negotiation and a willingness to compromise, with the ultimate goal of regaining control of the situation and making choices that will lead to a positive future for everyone involved.
Although many people aim for an amicable separation or divorce, intense emotions can sometimes override good intentions, leading to decisions that may cause harm to the other party.
To achieve a successful amicable separation, both partners must consciously put in the hard work. It is essential to understand your options and goals and work towards them.
Although the process may be emotionally challenging, taking control of your situation, making decisions for your family’s future and not allowing the breakup to destroy your life make the effort worthwhile.
While there are significant benefits to an amicable separation, it is crucial to recognise that it may not always be feasible. In cases involving domestic or family violence, substance abuse, coercion, or mental health issues, an amicable separation is unlikely.
Why is divorce/separation so difficult?
It’s no doubt that the process of getting divorced is undeniably challenging. The actual application process to get a divorce is quite simple and the effects of divorce on an individual may vary from person to person. Two major hurdles often impede the amicability during divorce proceedings, these being emotional turmoil and having to navigate through a situation that you may never have experienced before.
Emotions run high for many people when they are faced with a separation. Feelings of anger or resentment are very common. As are feelings of stress and fear. When a relationship ends a number of significant changes occur, and unless you’ve separated or divorced before, it can be difficult to know exactly what you need to do, and this can be overwhelming.
Fortunately, there are people and services that can help. If you’re struggling emotionally, counsellors and therapists are great options to help you work through your feelings. If you’re not sure where to begin when it comes to separating or divorcing, a family lawyer can help you. We can offer advice, negotiate on your behalf and represent you too.
3 Benefits of Amicable Divorce
There are several advantages to an amicable split that extend beyond the separating spouses. Here are a few examples:
It can be less costly financially and emotionally, and potentially save time
It’s widely known that separation or divorce can have a significant financial impact on all parties concerned and often, it takes a long time. It typically entails costly adjustments to living arrangements, as well as modifications to financial support and earning abilities.
Moreover, if you and your ex-partner cannot reach an agreement on asset division or parenting issues, you may have to engage lawyers, undergo dispute resolution, or resort to court proceedings for a resolution. These factors can add stress to an already challenging situation, making it even more demanding.
If you’re able to decide how to move forward together this may make the process faster and less debilitating financially.
It allows you to decide your own future
When a former couple can cooperate harmoniously, they can independently make choices and shape their own destiny. However, when a separating couple is unable to work collaboratively or reach mutual agreements, it may lead to court proceedings where decisions and arrangements will be imposed upon them, potentially leaving them with little control over the outcomes.
It makes co-parenting a lot easier
When you have children with your former partner, it is important to remember that both of you share responsibility for their well-being. This means that you will likely be faced with making significant decisions about their future, particularly if they are under 18 years old.
To ensure that this process goes as smoothly as possible, it’s essential to approach it with a rational and cooperative mindset. It’s also important to recognise that your children will be a part of your life for the long haul, which means that you may need to interact with your former partner in the future.
By prioritising your children’s needs and maintaining a positive relationship with your ex, you can make co-parenting a more manageable and rewarding experience.
6 tips to make the divorce more amicable
If you and your ex-partner aim for a friendly separation, there are various steps you can take to simplify the process. Although it won’t be effortless, these suggestions can make a significant difference in streamlining the process:
Seek initial legal advice
While you may not want to have lawyers involved in your separation we highly recommend seeking initial legal advice from a family lawyer. It doesn’t mean that you have to work with a family lawyer throughout the whole process but it allows you to understand what the law would consider an appropriate outcome in your situation.
By doing this, you will be aware of all the factors you need to consider prior to discussions and negotiation. As family lawyers, we often find that if parties go off and reach an agreement that they later take advice on it can end poorly. This could be because one person may not realise that they are getting a ‘bad deal’ and once they receive advice they may try to change the deal. This can undermine the process and strain the relationship as other person may think that an agreement had been reached and now the other party is trying to backtrack on it.
Family law and your options can be pretty complicated, so seeking initial advice can save you a lot of time in the long run.
Figure out what is important to both parties
When going through an amicable split, the aim is for both parties to end up in a favourable position. However, it’s crucial to determine what that means for you personally. What are your comfort requirements and desired outcomes? Although compromise and negotiation may be necessary during the process, having a clear understanding of your goals can make it easier to feel satisfied with the outcome. We often say that a good outcome is one both parties can ‘live with’ as there are no ‘winners’ or ‘losers’ in these situations.
Know what your role is in the process
As previously mentioned, a significant impediment to achieving an amicable separation or divorce is a lack of clarity on what is required during the process. It is vital to educate yourself about the various decisions that must be made and how to approach them. Seeking the assistance of a skilled divorce attorney can aid in this endeavour.
Pick your battles wisely
Even in amicable separations or divorces, the process is can take time due to the multitude of decisions that need to be made and tasks that need to be completed. This can sometimes bring up unresolved issues or emotions. In such situations, it is important to choose your battles wisely. Not every decision needs to lead to a conflict or argument. It is important to prioritise and approach each issue with a level head to avoid unnecessary stress and tension.
Take your time
As we mentioned, the process of separation or divorce can be prolonged due to the numerous decisions that need to be made. It is also a period of significant change for all parties involved, so it is crucial not to rush the process.
During the initial stages of separation, emotions may be heightened and more difficult to manage. It is important to take time to navigate through these emotions and not make hasty decisions that could have long-term consequences.
Lean on the support of others
There are various types of support available to individuals going through a difficult time. This support can take many forms, such as seeking advice from friends, joining a support group, attending counselling sessions, or consulting a lawyer.
Some individuals may simply need to express their thoughts and feelings, whereas others may require more information and guidance. Regardless of the type of support needed, it is essential to understand that seeking help from others can be incredibly beneficial and there is no shame in leaning on the support of others.
How a family lawyer can help you
Even in an amicable split, a family divorce lawyer can provide invaluable assistance in various ways. While some may assume that lawyers only escalate situations and lead to court proceedings, the truth is that we can also help in understanding the necessary steps when separating from a partner.
Lawyers can offer crucial advice and information, ensuring that all agreements made by both parties are legally enforceable. The separation process can involve numerous complex steps that may be unfamiliar to you, but with the help of a divorce lawyer, you can ensure that no aspect is overlooked.
In cases where negotiation or legal representation is required, a divorce lawyer can also provide their expertise to help you navigate the process.
If you need the services of a family lawyer, here at Clarity Lawyers we can help you. We provide a range of services to help resolve various family law matters you may be involved in. Call us on 02 4023 5553 today or book a consultation online here to discuss your matter.