The phrase “civil divorce” may sound unrealistic. After all, how can you officially end a close relationship without there being some emotional upheaval? Of course, it’s even harder to remain civil during a divorce if there are children to consider and considerable assets to divide.
What is important to remember is that being civil is not the same as being unemotional. Being civil during divorce means acting courteous and polite even though you feel hurt and angry.
Here are some tips on having a civil divorce, whether it is contested or uncontested. Psychology Today examined this topic and gave some tips for remaining civil while going through a highly emotive situation. Here’s a summary of some of their advice.
1. Try to understand what happened with the marriage.
Instead of blaming your spouse for the situation and attempting to get even, take an honest look at how each of you contributed to the marriage’s demise. Doing so takes a certain amount of maturity and self-knowledge.
Could it be that the underlying reason for your divorce was stress, differing developmental life stages, or a skill defect? Understanding the root cause may keep you from pointing fingers and lead to a more civil interaction between yourself and your ex.
2. Take responsibility for your actions.
If you recently experienced a breakdown in your relationship, think about the ways that you could have been a more loving, cooperative, and considerate partner.
3. Learn how to communicate without anger.
Communication is like any other skill. It takes practice to do it effectively. Learn as much as you can about practicing collaborative dialogue, perhaps by visiting a counselor.
Being able to communicate without bringing up one of your old arguments may lead you to have an uncontested divorce rather than a contested divorce.
4. Don’t be too stingy or overly generous with your divorce settlement.
It may seem odd that experts recommend that individuals are not overly generous with a divorce settlement. After all, giving your ex everything they asked for should result in a remarkably civil divorce, right?
Instead, those who are overly generous during a divorce often end up being resentful down the line. Being civil isn’t the same as being a pushover.
5. Choose your divorce attorney carefully.
If you wish to have a civil divorce, communicate that with your attorney early in the process. Work with professionals who are skilled with divorce mediation so that you can speed up the process. After all, a faster divorce means that you have less chance to argue with your ex-partner.
6. Find a safe person to talk to about your emotions.
Even if you wish to act civilly during your divorce, you are still grieving the loss of your relationship. You may feel sad, embarrassed, guilty, angry, or resentful. Bottling up these emotions isn’t always healthy. Psychology Today recommends that talking your through emotions with a trusted person can help you to move through and beyond them.
This person may be a trusted friend, family member, or counselor. Of course, don’t use your children as your sounding board if you wish to have a civil divorce.
7. View divorce as a process.
People who have experienced divorce often describe it as a death. You don’t get over the death of a close family member at the drop of a hat. In fact, grief is a process that may continue the rest of your life.
If you wish to have a civil divorce, you may find it helpful to remember that the grief of your broken relationship may never entirely go away, but the poignant feelings may lessen as time passes.
8. Remember, you only have one life.
You may have the worst ex-spouse in the history of all marriages, but you only have one life. Do you want to spend your remaining time on earth angry, depressed, and vengeful?
It may be easier to remain civil during the divorce if you remember that life goes on after you sign the final settlement.
If you live in the San Antonio area and are contemplating divorce, reach out to the attorneys at Wilson Brown PLLC. Their staff offers a wide range of marriage dissolution services tailored to meet each couple’s needs. Call (210) 405-4919 for a free consultation.
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