We often picture divorce full of disagreements, court battles and generally leaving a scorched path of earth as it progresses. In certain circumstances, however, an amicable divorce can be possible. More and more couples are finding a way to achieve a happily never after.
An amicable divorce generally relates to one that is uncontested. In uncontested divorces, spouses generally agree on all the issues related to divorce including the division of marital property and debts, child custody, child support, and spousal support. They must be able to work together towards mutually agreeable resolutions and be able to compromise. In these situations, spouses can reach a decision as to the terms of the divorce without going to trial.
Typically, uncontested divorces:
- Are easier because you avoid the constant negotiations, legal posturing, and court hearings
- Are less stressful
- Are less expensive due to fewer legal fees
- Reduce hostility
- Promote feelings of empowerment and control
- Allow both parties to resume their life more quickly
Many divorcing couples may have some issues upon which they disagree. More amicable and less expensive methods to resolve cases include:
- Collaborative Divorce–In a collaborative approach, parties and their family divorce attorneys agree to settle matters involving division of assets and debt, alimony, child support, child custody, visitation rights, and other matters through negotiation, mediation, compromise and/or agreement, instead of through litigation. (For more information, see our previous blog Is a Collaborative Divorce Right for Me?)
- Mediation Divorce–During mediation, the divorcing parties meet with a court-appointed third party. The mediator is neutral and cannot give advice to either party. Instead, the mediator helps the couple work through issues (such as distribution of property, child custody and support, retirement and taxes) in order to find a way to end their marriage as amicably and cost effectively as possible. (For more information, see our previous blog What is Divorce Mediation?)
- Do It Yourself Divorce/Kitchen Table Negotiation–If parties agree to all property division, custody issues, and support schedules, couples can file papers and seek court approval in most cases without lawyers.
- Therapist Counseling–Therapists may assist in the process of achieving an amicable divorce by helping couples work through emotions towards their mutual goals.
Whatever the approach, amicable divorce can provide an attractive option for couples wishing to forgo the traditional path of litigation.