Divorce is painful for everyone involved, but if you are open to negotiation and compromise, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a fight. By agreeing not to wage war against one another, divorcing partners can maintain a civil relationship throughout the divorce process and after. There are few things to keep in mind that will help you and your former spouse keep things civil.

Kids Come First

Without a doubt, your kids are affected by your divorce more than almost anyone else, even if they don’t seem terribly troubled. Even though your marriage is ending, you need to consider your decisions in light of how they affect your children and how you can help them. For instance, instead of criticizing your soon-to-be ex, speak kindly about them and emphasize their love for their children. It might be difficult when things are strained, but parents should be cordial to each other, particularly when the kids are around. Don’t try to keep them separated from your former spouse unless they are in danger.

Keep Open Lines of Communication

Don’t surprise your spouse during a divorce. Nothing sours things faster than feeling like you have been blindsided. Even though you are ending your marriage, if you work together to make decisions, it will be much better than fighting. You probably need legal assistance in your divorce to protect your own best interests, but even when you’re splitting up, honesty is the best policy. It is also important to take a step back and put space in between you if you are getting angry. You will very rarely accomplish anything when you are emotional, so take a break if your emotions are getting the best of you and clouding the discussion.

Try to Reach an Agreement

Just because you won’t be married anymore doesn’t mean that you can just cut and run. You still have a responsibility to your children and it will take some time to untangle your lives. When discussing major issues, such as custody arrangement, the division of assets, or alimony, it is important that you try to reach a compromise that works for everyone. You won’t get everything you want, but try to keep things cordial. It may be helpful to include a family law attorney in these discussions. They will be able to help you navigate these conversations and mediate your discussions so your get the best possible outcome.

It’s not necessary for you and your ex to remain the best of friends. After all, you’ve decided to move on. But a divorce also doesn’t have to mean screaming arguments, insults and schemes, either. By committing to divorcing with dignity, and sticking to that plan, you can end your marriage on courteous terms, which is in everyone’s best interest.

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