Once you've made the difficult decision to divorce, you may feel a bit of relief - like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.
But you now have another important decision to make. You need to decide which method to use to actually get the divorce.
In this post, you'll hear what our panel of experts have to say about the best way to get a divorce and which divorce method they recommend to their clients.
"What is the best way to get a divorce and why?"
Dr. Pamela Brand, Psy.D., LMFT
"I always recommend that couples seek mediation for the purpose of being able to go have a collaborative conversation about their expectations about the division of assets and the visitation – what each partner prefers regarding the custody and visitation.
I think that divorce mediation is the best way to get a divorce because it provides spouses an atmosphere that is not adversarial. It’s an atmosphere that can help couples collaborate as co-parents.
I also suggest that mediation is less expensive and a calmer and more thoughtful environment."
"If a couple has decided to divorce, I encourage them to create a vision for how they would like the process to play out.
This vision should be explicit, written, and include detailed descriptions of the best possible outcomes for all aspects of the divorce (e.g., moving to separate locations, handling financial issues, and goals for long-term co-parenting, if applicable).
Creating this vision serves multiple purposes:
It slows people down, which moves them out of the reactive parts of their brains and into their more rational, calm parts. In doing so, they are more likely to respond to issues that arise in a clear-headed manner.
It helps people focus on the parts of the divorce process they can control—themselves—rather than the things their partner is or isn’t doing.
It engenders personal accountability.
If the divorcing spouses are not in a state of high conflict, the visions should be shared and discussed with each other, preferably with help from a therapist.
In all cases, both individuals should share their vision with someone they trust outside of the relationship who can help them stay focused on behaving in ways that are aligned with their vision. The vision may take a few drafts to get it right and may require revision over time as circumstances change. Ideally, it will serve as the blueprint for the rest of the divorce procedures.
When both partners are committed to this approach, it can allow them to successfully use a less expensive and more peaceful process such as mediation, rather than litigation in court."
"I encourage my couples to avoid litigation as much as possible. It’s a process that only leads to more conflict and a large legal bill.
If a spouse is willing to be respectful of the other spouse and is looking for a graceful way to end their marriage, I think mediation is a great alternative. It allows each person to have a voice and be supported without diminishing the other partner.
"I think if a couple has decided to divorce and they are on the same page about that, they could do it pretty simply.
I’ve heard various statistics but I know that it’s a really small amount of couples that count for the majority of the time in divorce court.
So if it’s a couple that’s going to be able to part ways and move into this new phase of their life without a lot of arguing about assets and so forth, then I would recommend that they mediate and avoid court.
Mediation is a great way to go so it doesn’t have to be a tremendous financial burden in terms of paying lawyers."
"I would say to have a trial separation first. Take some time apart and I would recommend that because attachment is a very powerful thing, sometimes it’s more powerful than love.
The more attached to somebody and connected to them as our primary attachment person, the more devastating the loss of that would be for both people.
So the trial separation allows for feeling into that being apart.
There’s different ways of structuring a trial separation and a good couple’s counselor would know how to do that. And then at the end of that trial, the spouses should start making some decisions about what’s next.
I really think divorce mediation is the best way to divorce if a couple has gotten to that point because it helps for the longevity of the relationship in the family.
And being able to work together with a divorce mediator would be a healthy way to do it."
The choices you make before you start your divorce are critical.
Regardless of how many years you've been married, whether you're the one who wants the divorce, your spouse does or you're both on the same page, the choices you make before you start your divorce will likely set the tone for how the entire process will unfold for you and your children.
And how peaceful, fair, child-focused and cost-effective your divorce will (or won't) be.
But you can only make smart choices if you take the time to get educated and prepare for divorce first.
That's exactly why we created a downloadable kit for smart people like you - to help you do just that!
We are a husband and wife, divorce mediator and divorce coach, and we specialize in helping couples resolve the issues required for divorce -peacefully, fairly and cost-effectively. We're passionate about helping families avoid the destruction of attorney-driven litigation. And our comprehensive, flat-fee mediation services provide an ideal divorce solution! Divorce isn't easy, but it doesn't have to be a disaster. Let us help!