The stereotype of divorce is a bitter fight between former lovers who now hate each other. That is an image that often shows up in movies. While that is what happens sometimes, a more common situation is two parties who have grown apart or who are tired of fighting, whether it's over almost everything or over just a few issues.
What I'm seeing more of is people looking for an “amicable divorce”. There's no single definition of that term, but generally it refers to a divorce where the fighting is minimized and is relatively civil when it occurs. While that may not seem normal to some people, it is actually pretty common. Here are some reasons why someone may be looking for an amicable divorce. The parties …
- agree that they only want to use 1 attorney, usually to save money, but sometimes just to avoid fights brought on by the second attorney.
- don't want to make the divorce into a big fight.
- need help figuring out a few things even though they have worked through most issues.
- want to hold the costs down.
- want a fairly quick divorce, or at least are not opposed to it.
- have just grown apart over the course of a long-term marriage.
- still love or care for each other.
- have kids (sometimes grown) and they don't want to upset the kids.
- believe in fairness.
- sometimes, mainly are looking for an attorney to act as a scribe to write up the papers based on their agreements.
So, how can you and your spouse get an amicable divorce?
Rule #1: choose your attorney wisely. Some lawyers don't believe in amicable divorces. Look for a Collaborative attorney. He or she will be more open to customizing and creating new solutions. Plus, a Collaborative lawyer will already be attuned to a peaceful resolution.
Avoid any lawyer you don't feel comfortable with. Avoid non-refundable retainers. Also, if someone insists on a course of action that you don't want, for example having a temporary hearing, or tells you exactly what to do or how everything will go.Some lawyers don't listen to their own clients. Remember, almost no divorce is inexpensive, but you save money by not fighting. If you have assets or children or any difficulties, there will be some cost associated with it. Divorce is normally not cheap, but an amicable divorce should cost much less than a divorce with a lot of fighting in it.
Stay on good terms with your spouse. That saves money. Be able to explain how the deal meets your spouse's needs as well as yours. The deal must be mutually beneficial if you want to keep the divorce amicable.
It is possible to have an amicable divorce, but it's probably not as easy as you expect or hope it will be. With a good attorney and flexible parties willing to compromise and trade off on both sides, you can accomplish a great result and have a peaceful experience.