10 Proven Steps to an Amicable Divorce 

Divorce can be a painful and emotional experience for everyone involved. However, it doesn’t have to be a bitter and contentious process. 

An amicable divorce is one where both parties are able to work together to reach a fair agreement without resorting to hostility and conflict. 

This article will discuss the 10 proven steps to an amicable divorce to help couples navigate the process with respect and cooperation for a smoother transition.

1. Understand What Your Assets are and What They are Worth

Understanding your assets is crucial if you want to have an amicable divorce. When you and your partner decide to divorce, you must know what you own, including your finances, property, and other valuable possessions. 

Without knowing the full extent of your assets, dividing them can become a contentious and challenging process. Understanding your assets and their value will help you to make informed decisions about the division of property and any necessary financial arrangements. 

2. Know Your Debts and Liabilities

Understanding your debts and liabilities is just as important as knowing your assets if you want to have a smooth and amicable divorce. 

When you and your partner decide to split, you must clearly understand your financial obligations, including outstanding debts and liabilities.

You need to know the full extent of your debts and liabilities to divide them fairly and avoid conflict and resentment. 

Therefore, compiling a comprehensive list of your debts and liabilities is crucial, including any loans, mortgages, credit card debts, and other financial obligations.

3. Start By Dividing Assets and Debts 50/50

Starting the process of an amicable divorce by dividing your assets and debts equally can be a beneficial approach for both parties involved. 

Dividing assets and debts equally means that spouses receive an equal share of the marital property and liabilities, regardless of who acquired them.

Dividing assets and debts equally can help simplify the divorce process and reduce potential conflict. It also ensures that both spouses receive a fair share of the marital property and debts, regardless of the value of the assets.

4. The Family Home Typically Goes to the Spouse Who Has Custody of the Children

In an amicable divorce, the family home typically goes to the spouse with primary custody of the children. In most cases, the court will want the spouse with primary custody to keep the family home as it provides a sense of stability and continuity for the children.

However, several factors can impact the distribution of the family home, including the spouses’ financial situation, the home’s value, and each spouse’s contribution towards the property’s acquisition and maintenance.

If the spouses cannot afford to keep the family home, they may decide to sell the family home and split the proceeds. Alternatively, one spouse may choose to buy out the other’s share of the property.

5. Focus on the Best Interest of the Children When Determining Custody and the Visitation Plan

Focusing on the children’s best interests is crucial when determining custody and visitation plans in an amicable divorce. Children often experience significant emotional stress during the divorce process, and ensuring their well-being and stability is essential.

Putting the children’s interests first can help parents to make informed decisions about custody and visitation arrangements that consider the children’s needs, schedules, and preferences. This approach can help parents avoid unnecessary conflict and protect their children’s emotional and physical well-being.

Creating a parenting plan is a critical step in an amicable divorce. A parenting plan outlines the custody arrangement and visitation schedule for your children. 

It can also address critical issues such as education, healthcare, and extracurricular activities. Working together to create a parenting plan that is in the best interests of your children can help minimize the stress of the divorce on them.

6. Treat Settlement Discussion Like You are Ending a Business Relationship Instead of a Marriage

This approach can reduce emotions and facilitate productive discussions that focus on resolving the legal and financial issues related to the divorce.

When treating settlement discussions like the end of a business relationship, both parties should focus on the legal and financial aspects of the divorce rather than the emotional ones. This approach can help to minimize potential conflicts and ensure that both parties’ interests are protected.

7. Negotiate in Good Faith With a Full Disclosure of All Assets

Negotiating in good faith with full disclosure of all assets is crucial in an amicable divorce. When both parties negotiate in good faith and with transparency, it can reduce conflicts and create a more equitable division of assets and liabilities.

Full disclosure of all assets is essential to ensure both parties understand the marital property and debts clearly. This information facilitates productive discussions and negotiations and ensures that both parties’ interests are protected.

Negotiating in good faith requires both parties to approach the negotiation process with a willingness to compromise and find a mutually beneficial solution. This approach can prevent unnecessary conflicts and ensure the final settlement is fair and reasonable for both parties.

8. Don’t Play The Blame Game

Avoiding the blame game is essential in an amicable divorce. Playing the blame game can increase conflict and make divorce more emotionally challenging for both parties.

When parties focus on assigning blame, moving forward and finding common ground can be challenging. This approach can also make creating a parenting plan, negotiating a settlement, or resolving any possible disputes harder.

Instead of blaming each other, both parties should focus on finding solutions and working together to create a fair and reasonable settlement. This approach can help to reduce tensions and prevent unnecessary conflicts that can delay the divorce process.

9. Consider Early Mediation

Early mediation is an essential consideration in an amicable divorce. Mediation facilitates productive discussions, reduces conflicts, and creates a more efficient and cost-effective divorce process.

Mediation involves hiring a neutral third-party mediator to help both parties communicate and negotiate a settlement. The mediator can help ensure that both parties’ interests are protected and that the final settlement is fair and reasonable.

By considering early mediation, both parties can avoid unnecessary delays and conflicts arising during the divorce process. Mediation can reduce legal fees, save time, and minimize stress and emotional strain.

10. Learn to Forgive

Forgiveness is an essential aspect of obtaining an amicable divorce. Forgiveness can reduce tension and conflict between both parties and create a more positive and respectful environment during a divorce.

Forgiveness involves letting go of resentment and anger towards your spouse and focusing on finding a mutually beneficial solution. This approach can help both parties to move forward and create a more positive future for themselves and their family.

Forgiveness can also help to reduce the emotional strain of the divorce process. Divorce can be a challenging and emotional experience, and forgiveness can help both parties cope more effectively with the stress and challenges of the divorce process.

Furthermore, forgiveness can help to preserve a positive relationship between both parties, especially if children are involved. An amicable divorce can minimize the negative impact of the divorce on children and create a more stable and supportive environment for them.

Finally, forgiveness can also help both parties to heal and move on after the divorce process is complete. By letting go of negative emotions and focusing on finding a mutually beneficial solution, both parties can create a more positive and fulfilling future for themselves.

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Tim McDuffey is a practicing attorney in the State of Missouri. Tim is a licensed member of the Missouri Bar and Missouri Bar Association.

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