Thankfully the answer is “yes!” Ending a marriage does not have to be acrimonious and anger-driven. There’s no doubt that divorce is always stressful, but an amicable divorce is possible even for spouses with significant disagreements.
Working with attorneys experienced in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) reduces the acrimony and helps you and your spouse save time, money and stress. Pursuing a peaceful outcome also sets a positive tone for co-parenting for those with children.
What is alternative dispute resolution?
Most parents only want what’s best for their kids, and most divorcing couples hope that the process will be quick and painless. ADR helps resolve disputes out of court. For family law, ADR includes:
- Divorce mediation: In this scenario, a lawyer serves as a neutral third-party who guides spouses through the process. Discussions focus on areas of agreement and positively address issues where couples disagree. Each spouse can also have their own attorney. Mediation often saves time and thousands of dollars and helps preserve a family unit.
- Mediation consulting: When you enter into mediation, you have the option to hire a consulting attorney to help you understand the process and develop legal strategies that protect your interests. They can also help you evaluate whether the proposed agreements are in your best interests.
- Collaborative law: In this form of ADR, both spouses agree to forge an agreement instead of allowing a judge to decide for them. A collaborative approach emphasizes honesty and communication, helping spouses find common ground. Your lawyer may also work with financial and mental health experts and others to minimize the costs and anxiety.
How can I help achieve an amicable outcome?
No one plans for or wants a messy divorce. But remember how you act during the process will likely set the groundwork for the future. Putting anger aside and focusing on these five steps can lead to a better outcome:
- Conduct divorce negotiations in good faith and with dignity
- Put your children’s needs first
- Refuse to let anger or blame guide your actions
- Always focus on the big picture
- Choose ADR over litigation
Despite the strain of divorce and the sometimes overwhelming toll it takes, approaching the process with these things in mind can lead to a peaceful end to your marriage and a brighter future.