Divorce happens. A lot. And if nothing more, knowing that nearly one in every two marriages ends in divorce should serve to give you a sense of safety in numbers – you’re not the first, you won’t be the last and you’re certainly not alone, especially if you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse can navigate the experience together.
And while we recognize they can’t all be ‘conscious uncouplings’ – there are obviously circumstances that may not lend themselves to a harmonious, collaborative kumbaya divorce – there are ways to mitigate the emotional, financial and psychological hardships that can arise because ultimately, you have two choices: get divorced and be miserable or get divorced and be happy.
A ‘happy’ divorce – or at least one that is cooperative, communicative and healthy – isn’t exclusive to Hollywood, so here are five ways you can ‘uncouple’ peacefully, respectfully and maybe – just maybe – happily:
Step 1: Ditch The Blame Game.
There are no winners in The Blame Game. While it can be tempting to blame each other for the failure of your marriage, choose instead to focus your energy on the fact that you’ve decided to take a step in the right direction, and the factors that led to this point don’t matter anymore. Every issue, fight and incompatibility is now in your rearview, and you should instead choose to look in the direction you’re moving: forward.
Step 2: See The Forest for the Trees.
It’s easy to get lost in the details. But when you actively choose to focus on the big picture by taking the time to figure out what’s most important to you – your wants, needs and non-negotiables – you can more effectively approach negotiations. This is also especially critical if you have children together. Focusing on what’s most important – like your child(-ren) and your future – instead of fighting over semantics or trying to be right will exponentially increase your chances of achieving a desirable outcome.
Step 3: Be Transparent.
When each spouse openly discloses all assets, debts, income, tax returns, and bank accounts to paint a complete picture of what needs to be discussed, divided and resolved, you will encourage negotiations that will build and maintain a trust that will help end your marriage peacefully.
Step 4: Family First.
This may seem counterintuitive when divorce feels like it flies in the face of your hopes for your family. But while your marital relationship with each other may not have worked, you have other invaluable relationships to maintain – namely your parental relationship with one another and your respective relationships with your child(-ren). And when you choose to put your family first, you can continue to cooperatively determine what’s best for your child(-ren), married or not.
Step 5: Fake It ‘Til You Make It.
Happiness begets happiness. So even in the darkest moments when happiness seems distant at best and impossible at worst, choose to have faith that everything will be all right – because it will – and seek out things that bring you joy. It may seem overly simplistic, but it’s often all too easy to allow yourself to circle the drain, lost in negative thoughts and patterns. A happy person – or at least one who actively pursues thoughts and actions that bring joy – will be a happy divorcee.
So if you do find yourself in the unfortunate position of seeking a divorce, don’t go at it alone. Contact us. Anton Castro Law’s family and divorce attorneys are compassionate, experienced and dedicated to representing your best interests.