You’ve been contemplating looking up divorce attorneys for a while. Maybe you’ve even asked close friends for a referral. And now that you’ve finally approached your spouse, the real work begins. Ending a marriage is one of the most difficult things adults can face – let alone when there are insults, contention and conflict. While breaking off a commitment to someone so entwined in your life inevitably brings friction, ending a marriage with integrity is the key to an easier divorce, both emotionally and financially.
The end of your marriage doesn’t have to be drawn out or painful. If you choose to handle a dissolution or divorce without respect for your spouse, you run the risk of hurting them and even facing their retaliation. This back and forth not only cuts emotionally, but also drags out divorces indefinitely. Learning to temper your emotions and empathize with your spouse can go a long way toward a faster divorce and an amicable settlement.
1. Be patient. Realize that you and your spouse are most likely in completely different places emotionally. If you initiated the split, your emotional tie to marriage may have ended months ago. Meanwhile your husband or wife is still reeling from the split. Being gracious and allowing him or her time to catch up emotionally will allow him or her time to reach a place where they can negotiate, writes mediator and retired lawyer Deborah Lynn Zutter.
2. Set boundaries. Try to keep conversations to a minimum while staying polite. Diving into personal topics could just lead to rehashing past arguments and opening old wounds. If necessary, agree to only speak with each other concerning the kids or when you have appointments.
3. Create a plan. You will want to work with your lawyer to set a specific strategy that addresses the special circumstances of your family. The more each of you is willing to listen to what is important to the other, the more effective your plan can be. View Age Appropriate Parenting Plans by the Ohio Task Force on Family Law and Children for a jump start.
4. Be intentional. Psychotherapist Tammy Nelson, Ph. D, writes that ending a marriage with intention is critical if you want to inflict the least amount of collateral damage on your children. Guarding them from unnecessary emotional scarring is important for them as well as you and their other parent.
“Let [your partner] know that you are working on an intentional divorce and that your relationship with your children is your priority,” she writes. “This will let your partner know that you are not setting out to devastate them legally, emotionally or financially.”
5. Be clear. It’s critical to be clear that you want to end the marriage, Nelson writes. If you have already tried counseling, let your partner know that you are not interested in pursuing continued therapy. False hope for reconciliation can lead to even more stress and friction when that reconciliation fails to materialize. If you have gone through counseling and want to give it another shot, be specific about what you will or will not do. For instance, if you are willing to try another six sessions, stick with the entire treatment.
If you’re looking for a divorce attorney to help you end your marriage with integrity, get in touch with Gus Dahlberg today to schedule a consultation.