Whether you live in Jupiter or Boca Raton, we all know someone who has started out with an amicable divorce only to end up litigating in court and spending tens of thousands of dollars and experiencing and witnessing our friends in the divorce case acting in a hostile and adversarial fashion with one another. Many couples, during a divorce process, start off attempting to reach an amicable solution. However, good intentions may not always be enough for a couple to maintain an amicable divorce. Eileen Coen, an attorney and mediator from Bethesda, Maryland, has three suggestions on how to keep an amicable divorce on track:
- Find strategies to deal with the loss and pain of divorce. Every divorce has feelings of loss and sadness. Often the spouse who doesn’t want the divorce feels a sense of abandonment, anger, or denial. Even the spouse who initiates the divorce often experiences grief, and sometimes guilt, and perhaps shame. People’s best decisions are not made when they’re angry, desperate, or defensive. Taking time to process your emotions with a professional therapist is likely to have a substantial and positive impact on your ability to keep your divorce amicable and to be able to react to your children and your divorcing spouse appropriately;
- Consult an attorney to advise you rather than retaining an attorney to represent you. By engaging in problem-solving conversations with your spouse and consulting with a legal advisor as needed, you will have access to the legal information you need while staying in control and managing what happens in your divorce. Oftentimes when you retain an attorney, you inadvertently may be kicking off the adversarial process; and
- Agree to try mediation at the outset. A mediator is a neutral individual who will attempt to have you and your spouse reach agreement on the major issues in your divorce case. If mediation isn’t working for you, you will know soon enough and then would have the opportunity to engage in a different process, including an adversarial divorce.
Many divorcing spouses may benefit by following the advice of Attorney Coen. To learn more about how to keep your collaborative divorce on track, visit her web site at www.ecmediation.com.
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