How can I have an amicable divorce?

How can I have an amicable divorce?

North Carolina’s country music fans have likely been captivated by the Kelly Clarkson divorce saga. This is just one of the many recent celebrity divorce dramas that have played out in the public square. Indeed, even on television programs and in movies, divorce is seldom depicted as anything other than a dramatic and chaotic process. However, there are ways we can help work toward an amicable divorce.


The first step in ensuring an amicable divorce is agreeing to work together. Both spouses must want to be amicable. Often, the best way to start this process is to think about the alternative. If a couple needs extensive divorce litigation, the size of the marital estate could be largely depleted, especially for those that take years of litigation and multiple expert witnesses. A legal battle will also leave emotional scars, especially on children.


Once a couple decides to work together, the next step is preparation. Talk about what both spouses really want and how they envision the divorce. Try to agree on as many issues as possible, especially co-parenting plans and sentimental items. And, once an agreement is struck, try to keep it, unless there was a substantial misunderstanding or undervaluation. For example, couples with crypto-wallets may agree on a distribution, but that distribution may not make much sense months later, should those assets dramatically increase or decrease in value.


Individually, the focus should be to maintain peace. This is not just for the mental health of all involved, but also to lessen the risk of litigation. Even if there is fault, do not dwell on it. Keep the peace.


For divorcees, the last step is likely the hardest: patience. It can be hard to bite one’s tongue, especially when there was a significant breach in trust after decades of marriage. And, the need for one’s freedom can feel suffocating. Nonetheless, keep in mind that the process will take some time, but it will take much less time, if the goal is an amicable divorce.