Every divorce is difficult to some extent. The end of your marriage is likely an emotionally fraught occasion, and the important decisions and major life changes that follow can be overwhelming. However, in many cases, you have the power to make your divorce more manageable and less contentious without sacrificing the things that are most important to you.
Often, the key to a successful divorce resolution is approaching the process with the right mindset.
The good news is that you do not have to face the challenge of divorce on your own. When you work with a Kane County divorce attorney, you have an ally who can provide sound legal advice, offer support, compassion, and understanding, and help you keep your focus on what truly matters for you and your family. With your attorney’s assistance, you can take conscious actions to keep the divorce process from getting out of hand, and you may possibly even be able to maintain a healthy relationship with your ex well into the future.
Behaviors That Promote a Cooperative Divorce Resolution
Some things may be out of your control in a divorce, but your behavior is one thing that you can control. Here are some tips for keeping the divorce process constructive and minimizing anger, resentment, and hurt feelings:
- Be honest with your spouse: Honesty is crucial in any marriage, and even if you know that you want to get a divorce, you should continue to be as open and honest with your spouse as possible. If you are hiding something from your spouse, like an extramarital relationship or financial assets, and they discover your secret, this can destroy trust and make it difficult for the two of you to cooperate during the divorce process. If you are hoping for a cooperative divorce, It is also important that you be honest with your spouse about what you are looking for in terms of a resolution, so that both of you start the divorce process with an understanding of what is at stake.
- Develop your communication skills: A cooperative divorce requires both spouses to be willing and able to effectively communicate with each other throughout the process. You can prepare for negotiations by reflecting on your own communication and identifying opportunities to improve. For example, if you know that you tend to dominate conversations, you can make a greater effort to listen to your spouse’s perspective. If you know that you tend to get angry and make hurtful comments, you may want to work on keeping your emotions under control and focusing your communication on the task at hand rather than personal attacks. If you tend to shut down or get nervous about expressing yourself, you may benefit by practicing what you need to say in advance so you can be more confident about speaking up when the time comes.
- Focus on your children’s best interests: If you and your spouse have children together, the shared goal of being good parents and helping your children cope with the divorce can help the two of you stay focused on a cooperative resolution. When you are discussing issues like child support, child custody, and parenting time, remember that your decisions will affect the kids at least as much as they affect you. This can help you be open to solutions that will allow your children to maintain a strong relationship with both parents. It may be hard giving up some weekends and holiday time or factoring transportation between houses into an already busy schedule, but if you and your spouse prioritize your children’s needs, you can likely find a way to work it out. Remember, too, that your children will see how you and your spouse interact during the divorce, and modeling cooperative, respectful behavior can encourage your children to handle their own conflicts in the same way.
- Know when to compromise: If you begin the divorce process with a mindset that you need to “win” at all costs, chances are that everyone will lose. This hard-headed attitude can encourage your spouse to respond in kind, causing negotiations to break down and making it more likely that you will have to resolve your divorce through a costly, time-consuming trial that may bring lasting damage to your family. Try to understand that it is probably not possible to get every last thing you want in the divorce. Instead, identify the things that are most important. Then, you can be more assertive while discussing those items and more accommodating with issues that are less important to you and more important to your spouse.
- Work with a qualified mediator: Even in the most cooperative divorce, you and your spouse still may benefit from the assistance of an experienced mediator. When you use divorce mediation to reach a resolution, you retain full control over the outcome and a degree of confidentiality that is not possible with a public trial. Your mediator is there to offer an unbiased perspective based on their knowledge of the divorce process. They can guide you and your spouse through productive negotiations in which each of you will have the opportunity to express your needs and concerns. The mediator can also help you identify common ground that allows for collaborative solutions whenever possible.
It is true that cooperation is a two-way process, and you may sometimes find that your spouse is unwilling to work with you despite your best efforts. It is also possible that your divorce involves complicated issues that make a cooperative resolution impossible. However, if you think there is any chance for a more peaceful process, you can be the one to take the first step in that direction, and you may find that your spouse is willing to follow.
When you are interested in a cooperative divorce, look to a St. Charles divorce lawyer who has experience with alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation in addition to knowledge and experience with the legal process. The more strategies you have available to you, the more likely you will be to find one that works for your situation and helps you reach a solution.
Author Bio :
Tricia D. Goostree knew she wanted to be an attorney when she was 10 years old. After being accepted to the John Marshall Law School with a Dean’s Scholarship, Tricia added excellent writing skills to her love of working in the courtroom. Tricia is the founder and managing partner of the Kane County Divorce Attorney, Goostree Law Group, P.C. in St. Charles, Illinois.