- Jeffrey Stephens is an attorney and Ronald Raymond is a psychotherapist.
- They both work with divorced couples and co-write The Road to Splitsville based on their experiences.
- They say that communication and acknowledgment of long-term goals is key to an amicable divorce.
When divorcing couples begin to trade accusations, therapist Ronald Raymond knows it’s time to take a break from the arguments. When vile words start to fly, attorney Jeffrey Stevens does the same with his clients.
“We’re not going to get anywhere like this,” Stevens tells them.
Instead, Stephens and Raymond said, divorcing couples need to acknowledge their common desire: to get out of the marriage with the least amount of damage to their finances and their families’ emotional well-being. in their bookRoad to SplitsvilleAnd, which was inspired by a desire to help couples they see expend emotional and financial resources on messy divorces, Raymond and Stevens show how couples can avoid legal fees, discomfort, and heartache.
Having an amicable divorce doesn’t just benefit the feelings, the authors say. It also helps individuals maintain their independence, rather than handing important decisions over to a judge.
“You want to control your own destiny,” Stevens said.
Here’s how to maintain that control and work with your ex to create a conflict-free divorce.
Try to think of the good times
During a divorce, feelings run high and you may feel intense hatred or even hatred towards your spouse. But almost all relationships have happy memories built on a foundation of love. Connecting with these memories can give you emotional lift to proceed in a less hostile manner.
“There was a time when you were in love, got married, had kids. Look at that before you get into the next argument. Let’s try to build on those things, not to save the relationship, but to get through the divorce process effectively,” Stephens said.
Focus on your common goals and seek help as needed
Divorce can highlight the differences between you and your spouse. But in most cases, people share some common goals, which is to get through the process with minimal financial and emotional upheaval. Together, you can work towards this goal.
And in order to do that, you need three components: disclosure, information and discussion, Stephens and Raymond said. Talk openly about your financial assets and liabilities, collect information about your debts and assets and reveal everything, even money that your partner may not know about. Discuss issues such as custody. Start these conversations at home, however Seek professional help from a marriage annulment mediator or counsellor If the conversations turn into blame sessions.
Understand that divorce is not the end of your relationship
You may feel that you never want to see your partner again. But in almost all marriages Children or financial investments such as real estate or a shared pet will keep you together even after a divorce. If this is the case for you, respectful communication is key — not just during the divorce but after it.
“Just because the court said the divorce is final, that doesn’t mean it’s the end,” Raymond said. “Let go of anger and torture and have open discussions.”
Think of divorce as a business transaction
And Raymond said a divorce can have the same emotional impact as a death. But in the eyes of the law, it is a simple matter of legal contract.
“Divorce becomes a business transaction,” Stephens said.
A knowledgeable mediator can help you reach an agreement using your state’s laws. He said this is pretty much the same process that a judge would orchestrate if you went to trial. The difference is that with a mediator, you and your partner have more control, rather than putting the decision in the hands of a stranger. After all, Stevens said, you wouldn’t allow a stranger to order you dinner – why would you let him set the terms of your divorce?
Take your friends’ advice with caution
Venting with your friends can help you process your feelings. But beware of friends who give you suggestions on what to do. “Often, they have their own issues to grind on,” says Stephens, including their opinion of your partner or their own divorce experiences. Nor do they know the intricacies of your finances or situation. Friends who have strong opinions about your divorce Stevens said these actions can prevent you from making real progress in your mediation.
Work separately with individual therapists
Divorce raises many emotions. It is helpful to get professional help with mobility before, during, and after the formal process. While marital therapy can also be helpful, Individual therapy will help you process your feelings and developing more appropriate and effective ways to deal with your ex.
Be patient with yourself and expect to process these feelings — and more — over time.
“Divorce isn’t just an A and a Z, it’s the entire alphabet in between,” said Raymond.
Work on acceptance and processing your grief
like death, Divorce can lead to different stages of grief. Stevens and Raymond said the sooner you can work on accepting it, letting go of anger, blame and even sadness, the better off you’ll be.
“You need to move on,” Stevens said. “Life has actions, like a great play. Don’t think of divorce as the end of your life, think of it as the end of your work. There is happiness in the next chapter if you allow it. But if you allow it, hold on to bitterness, resentment, and hatred, you only kill yourself.”
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