How to Have an Amicable Divorce
Set the tone.
In Georgia, you must serve your spouse with a Summons and Petition for Divorce. But if you want things to be amicable, don’t hire the Sheriff! Instead, your attorney can ask your spouse to sign an Acknowledgment of Service. Once your attorney files the Petition for Divorce, you can give your spouse a heads up about what is coming so he or she does not feel blind-sided. Think about how you would want to find out that your marriage is ending.
Commit to a good co-parenting relationship.
By working at remaining friends (or at least friendly) with your ex-spouse, your children will be set up for success. Your children did not choose to have divorced parents, so don’t put them in the middle: don’t make them decide who they should live with, side with, or love. Your children love you both and that is a beautiful thing!
Share a common goal.
A common goal can help ground you and your spouse when it seems like the divorce is about to go off the rails. You and your spouse might agree that the primary goal of the divorce is to do what is in the best interests of your children. Is spending your children’s college fund on litigation in their best interest? Is burning your spouse’s favorite sweater in your child’s best interest? Obviously not. Having this guidepost will help remind you that there is a bigger picture and a life after divorce.
Look to the future: you are past the point of blame.
It doesn’t matter whose “fault” the divorce is. Legally speaking, Georgia is a no-fault state. By playing the blame game, you are either putting the other side on the defensive or being put on the defensive yourself. Both spouses have a part in the breakdown of a marriage — even if it was just your ignoring signs at the beginning that this person was not right for you. An amicable divorce will require both spouses to accept that the marriage is over and that it’s time to move forward. Don’t dwell on the past! I know — easier said than done. But it’s better to be Namaste than Namastay-Pissed-Off.
Gather your support system.
It is inevitable that at some point in the process you will feel angry, resentful, hurt, betrayed, or worse. Use your support system for venting—not your spouse or your children. If you direct these feelings toward your spouse, it will be much harder to have an amicable divorce. And never, ever speak negatively about your spouse to the children. Your children are not your support system, and carping about your spouse to your children will only alienate them from you, your spouse, or both of you. If you do not have a support system, invest in a divorce coach or therapist. Paulette Rigo is a certified divorce coach who founded Better Divorce Academy after enduring an 8-year divorce. Ms. Rigo uses her experience to help others navigate the process with less stress and emotional scarring.
Failing to disclose assets or debts is not conducive to being amicable. If it looks like you are hiding things, your spouse will see you as sneaky and not operating in good faith. This will likely lead to expansive and costly discovery, not to mention feelings of distrust that may never go away.
Written By Samantha Lennon