With 40% of the married population now divorcing, it is about time divorcing wasn't the brawl it used to be. It's true that divorcing can be very traumatic but it doesn't have to be.
It takes good planning and communication, ironically in about the same proportions as planning a wedding day. And you achieved that, right?
It may have been some years ago but when you got married, one of you probably took the lead, most decisions were joint decisions, there was a lot of compromise and it's probable that your respected the aspects that were personally important to each other.
Divorce takes the same amount of effort, time, money, respect and can be incredibly painful or pretty painless.
So what's the best advice for divorcing couples?
Mentally separate your divorce- it's a game of two halves - the emotional and the logistical.
The emotional half of divorce, even if it was your choice to separate can play havoc upon your mind set and ability to make good decisions for the future. Try and address emotional hurt through some supportive therapy before you drag that fragile emotional state into your logistical divorce, where you will need a clear logical mind.
Remember you will have to live with your decisions forever. If you are hard on your ex partner in divorce, all the money in the world won't stop your conscious coming to call one day. If you are fair, then you will be emotionally free to move on and are highly likely to feel more positive in the years following.
Get used to uncomfortable conversations. Communication is the key to divorcing well. Take time to consider what you'd prefer but do discuss options, try not to be fixed or rigid in your mindset. Keep communication civil and maintain an open mind.
That said, don't be bullied.
Unless both of you are happy with the arrangements of your divorce then it may cause other problems in years to come with co-parenting for example. Standing up now for what is right or what you need, may be the best decision for a more peaceful life going forward. Being firm is actually more fair in the long term.
Enter the lawyers.
Here is something every divorcing party needs to hear. Your lawyer will write letters on your behalf without emotion, this is their job. They deal in fact and only fact. This can be tough to receive and can cause utter carnage even in potentially amicable divorces.
I'm not going to say that lawyers cause upset purposely but not all offices are the same, some like fees and getting fees is easy with a few grenade drops early in the process. Instruct your law firm to be who you want to be. Be strong enough to say 'no', that sounds too harsh or 'I'd like that to be more considerate of feelings'.
Don't use instructing a law firm as a weapon.
If all goes to plan and you divorce well, your law firm should be writing up your wishes into orders. If you threaten that you are 'going to get a solicitor' then expect the carnage I explained above when the letters start to flow.
You will end up with egg on your face as the only winner in a married couple arguing is a lawyer and it's sure to cost you a fortune.
It's a marathon, not a sprint.
You may read about quick divorces - and yes you can file quickly, particularly now no reason divorces are in play. But behind the paper are the logistics of two people who may need to move home, adjust their parenting aspirations or emotionally become accustomed to new beginnings.
It's all in the planning.
Anything in life that 'pulls off' well has been planned to perfection.
Be open and honest from the beginning, be clear and plan everything in incredible detail. It's OK that you may need an interim plan, the finances particularly can take some time to work out and you may want to see how 50/50 parenting goes before you fully decide what is best but keep communicating and keep building the plan until you are ready.
Plan your future relationship.
You may have young children or they may have flown the nest but don't forget you may have to perform 'public duty' with your ex sometime in the future. Your children may need you to work together or your adult children may want you to be civil at their weddings for example. Take some time to consider what kind of relationship you want in the future and hold that is the finest regard in all the decisions that you make.