How To Have An Amicable Divorce

Spouses signing papers in a lawyer’s office, demonstrating how to have an amicable divorce

How To Have An Amicable Divorce

Most couples do not enter into marriage planning to divorce their partners. However, couples can grow apart, learn that they have unresolvable differences, or have other problems that prevent the spouses from being able to remain married. When that happens, divorce is the legal means of permanent separation of the marriage. According to the American Psychological Association, over 20 percent of first marriages end in divorce within five years, and 48 percent of marriages dissolve by the twentieth anniversary. Although divorce can be stressful for the entire family, especially for couples with children or assets to consider, it does not have to be contentious. If you would like to learn how to have an amicable divorce, consider contacting an Arizona family law attorney at Sullivan Law Office by calling (480)719-2558 to schedule a consultation. 

What Is an Amicable Divorce?

Being amicable means to be peaceable. When divorcing spouses are able to have friendly goodwill toward one another throughout the divorce process, they can more easily settle issues like division of assets, spousal support, child support, and custody. Even contested divorces can have aspects of amicability or become amicable after a rough start.

Uncontested Divorces vs. Contested Divorces

When a couple agrees to separate and divorce, they will typically file an uncontested divorce. In an uncontested divorce, both spouses will discuss and agree on all points necessary to end the marriage. Because the spouses agree, they will not need to go to trial, and a judge will not make the important decisions for them.

In a contested divorce, one spouse has decided to end the marriage, and the other spouse does not agree. The disagreement may not be about whether to end the marriage but, instead, could be about the separation of assets or who will get custody of the children. Because the spouses in a contested divorce are often dealing with highly contentious topics, the case may need to go to trial, where the judge will decide for them. 

How Mediation Can Help

To avoid trial, many couples in contested divorces will agree to go to mediation. In some cases, the judge will order the couple to mediate in order to resolve as many points of contention as possible before trial. According to the Office of Civil Rights, mediation is the intervention of a neutral outside party, the mediator, to help the spouses negotiate the terms of their divorce. This meeting typically occurs in the mediator’s office with each spouse’s attorney also present. There, the parties can feel comfortable calmly discussing their issues and developing compromises. 

Benefits of an Amicable Divorce

One of the most apparent benefits to spouses when ending a marriage amicably versus contentiously is having less stress throughout the process and, consequently, enjoying better overall health. Some additional benefits of an amicable divorce include the following:

  • Better mental, emotional, and even physical health for the couple’s children
  • Positive relationships with the children and each other while co-parenting after the divorce
  • Financial savings due to reduced court costs and legal fees
  • Quicker dissolution of the marriage so the former spouses can move on and build their new separate lives

General Tips for an Amicable Divorce

Many spouses want to have an amicable divorce in order to move on more quickly and maintain peace in the family. However, the reasons couples get divorced almost always elicit strong emotions. Keeping those emotions in check is important for ending the marriage in the most peaceable manner. The following tips can help you get through the divorce process amicably:

  • Watch what you say to your spouse, your children, family members, and friends
  • Assume that your spouse has good intentions
  • Clearly communicate your needs, and be kind in all types of communication
  • Focus on the goal 
  • Establish your priorities and list them in order
  • Think about what is equitable, not equal
  • Extend empathy
  • Set boundaries as needed
  • Express your gratitude to your spouse whenever possible
  • Avoid threats and negative comments
  • Take care of yourself

Financial Management Tips for an Amicable Divorce

One of the most contentious issues divorcing couples have is their finances. Because of this, spouses who wish to remain amicable throughout the divorce process may want to review the following tips. In addition, a family law attorney from Sullivan Law Office may be able to help sort out the priorities.

Gather Your Important Documents

Before sitting down together to make decisions about the financial aspects of your marriage, gather all relevant paperwork. Not only will you need documents verifying your personal information, such as driver’s licenses and your marriage certificate, but you will also need any documents related to finances. These can include income and employment information, bank accounts, investment accounts, insurance policies, tax documents, and more. These are not limited to joint accounts. All accounts owned by either spouse need to be addressed in order to determine how the marital assets should be divided.

List Your Debts and Assets

After gathering all important documents, make a list of your marital debts and assets. Only after having a clear visual representation of the couple’s financial outlook can divorcing spouses make reasonable decisions while remaining amicable. One of those decisions may be to close joint bank accounts or transfer complete ownership to one spouse.

Determine What Is Equitable 

Divorce is not about what is fair. Those who are facing divorce often express how unfair the situation is because they had never expected their marriage to end. Couples who focus more on what is equitable, rather than on what is equal, know how to have an amicable divorce. 

Write Down Your Agreements

As you review your financial documents in light of your divorce, make notes about any points of agreement. These notes can later be transferred to an official divorce agreement, which the judge will approve before issuing a final decree. Putting things in writing helps to keep divorcing spouses from changing their minds later or arguing over what they did or did not agree to. 

Contact an Arizona Divorce Attorney for Help Today

When spouses decide to end their marriage, it can be for many highly emotional reasons. Some divorcing couples may find themselves in court with a contested divorce, relying on the judge to decide important issues. Other couples desire to separate peacefully and file an uncontested divorce together. To learn more about how to have an amicable divorce, consider contacting an experienced Arizona divorce attorney at Sullivan Law Office by calling (480) 719-2558 to schedule a consultation today.