The fighting, the couples’ counseling and the bargaining are all over – and so is your marriage. Now, you just want to move on with your life and let your spouse move on with yours, but you don’t want to end up in a bitter divorce battle.
Is there any alternative? Absolutely. A lot depends on the approach you and your spouse are willing to take to the process. Listening to anybody who tells you to hire aggressive representation and go for your spouse’s throat (and wallet) is almost guaranteed to lead to litigation, however, so consider this guidance instead:
1. Agree to disagree.
There’s no point in trying to change each other’s minds, beliefs or values at this point, so accept the fact that you and your spouse are just two human beings who have simply grown in different directions. It happens. You’ll save yourself a lot of pain if you accept things as they are, instead of trying to make them how you want them to be.
2. Agree to let the past go.
Unless it has a direct bearing on the present (like a spouse’s alcoholism and concerns about their parenting), you need to stop arguing about past hurts. Nothing is to be gained by rehashing old arguments and revisiting old wounds.
3. Agree that you will each give things up.
Unless you’re remarkably lucky, you and your spouse both need to accept that you will not get everything you want in the divorce. You need to prioritize your goals and focus on what matters the most to each person as you work toward compromise.
4. Agree you are still a family.
You may not be married, but you share children together, so you and your spouse will still have some of the same circles – even when the kids reach adulthood. You need to preserve civility and try to be the best possible co-parents you can be, even when the marriage is over.
Believe it or not, a divorce doesn’t have to turn into a battle, nor does it have to end in litigation. You can get through your divorce with a minimum of hassle without compromising your future. It all depends on the tactics you decide to take.