When people think of “divorce”, they don’t often associate it with the term “amicable”, which means to be “characterized by friendly good will” or “peaceable” (definition courtesy of Merriam-Webster). Thus, “amicable divorce” may seem like quite an oxymoron. However, it is often advantageous to everyone involved if the divorce can be achieved and in a somewhat amicable fashion.
There are several things that both parties can do to overcome the major pitfalls to an amicable divorce, three of which are discussed below. In doing so, both parties are more likely to avoid the high cost, painful feelings, and adversarial aspects that are part of a litigated divorce.
Often times, divorcing spouses see the divorce process as a means for revenge and thus an instrument to hurt the other spouse. However, the problem with this approach is that it usually causes the other side to respond in the same manner, thus escalating everyone’s emotions involved. The “blame game” for instance tends to increase tension and prolong the divorce process. Although it is important to recognize that feeling exists, an amicable divorce is more likely achieved when both parties attempt to minimize the role that emotions play in a divorce. Divorce attorneys frequently must advise their clients with respect to this issue.
A divorce is essentially about business. Thus, an amicable divorce is best achieved when both parties can openly discuss the terms of the “business”. Communication requires open disclosure regarding assets and liabilities. The more open the parties are with each other, the less likely the attorneys are to be required to seek information through the “discovery process“. The best divorce attorneys regularly work with their clients to facilitate communication between the parties.
Efforts to minimize emotions and maximize communication both begin with the delivery of the divorce papers. In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or legal separation, the moving party must, among other requirements, serve the responding party with a Summons and a Petition for Dissolution. Being served with these papers often incites a tremendous amount of fear, anger and confusion. Thus, it is advisable that the person filing for divorce consider discussing the divorce with his/her spouse prior to actually filing the documents. This will likely minimize the “initial blow” associated with being served with divorce documents.
Implementing the above strategies does not mean that you always have to give up on important issues. Rather, it means that you and your soon to be ex-spouse are willing to work things out in a fair and cooperative manner so that you both end up with an agreement that works for everyone. Despite efforts to achieve an amicable divorce, the divorce process can be quite complicated, especially in San Diego.
Contact us today if you are contemplating a separation, curious about the divorce process, or simply want to schedule a consultation. Nancy J. Bickford is the only lawyer in San Diego who represents clients experiencing divorce, who is a Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS) and who is actively licensed as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Don’t settle for less when determining your rights. Call 858-793-8884 from all areas of San Diego County, including Encinitas, Escondido, Vista, and beyond.