You probably already know this, but divorce is never easy. Despite what you see in films and television, love and marriage aren’t always forever, and very rarely is a divorce a mutual endeavor. One side is inevitably going to be hurt by the other’s decision to leave. This does not mean, however, that a divorce has to be contentious. Anger, resentment and grief are all acceptable emotions when learning your spouse wishes to end your relationship; having the strength to manage these feelings in a courteous and objective manner can go a long way in diplomatically ending your marriage and moving forward with respect and dignity.
What is a Diplomatic Divorce?
A diplomatic divorce is an amicable divorce in which both parties agree to negotiate in good faith and without malice, coming to reasonable terms for child and spousal support, and division of assets without having to face a judge. This is also known as an uncontested divorce.
What You Should Know When Beginning a Diplomatic Divorce
- Never focus on who may or may not be at fault; this is irrelevant. Placing blame or punishing your spouse will simply lead to additional anger and resentment. Instead, treat your divorce as a business traction — You had signed a contract to build a life together and now one partner wants to leave the company. This will help you focus on the positive as opposed to the negative.
- Figure out what is most important to you (not everyone around you) and set realistic goals and expectations with your spouse.
- Try not to squabble over semantics; if your spouse pushes buttons, take time to breathe before answering. Reasonable disagreements will occur; how you handle these disagreements is what will define whether the divorce is amicable or contentious.
- If you have children, keeping the proceedings civil will help them become more accustomed to their new lifestyle. It also allows for much more bearable custody arrangements.
- Being diplomatic and respectful does not mean that you and your spouse will ever be friends, nor does it mean you have to like the decision. It simply means you understand your spouse’s decision and love them enough to let them leave peacefully.
- It also does not mean you won’t feel hurt or need time to grieve. Moving forward amicably allows for a much quicker resolution and reduces the amount of time, stress and money that you must pour into the divorce.
Some parties may wish to have a pro se divorce, which means each party handles all paperwork and arguments in a fair and amenable manner; others may need to acquire lawyers to handle all of the communication between the parties. Either way is perfectly acceptable. If you choose pro se, decide if you would like, or are required, to have a mediator to help resolve issues fairly; if you choose to hire attorneys, make sure both of them understand you want to end the marriage quickly, peacefully and amicably.