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How to End a Marriage Peacefully

How to End a Marriage Peacefully
Photo by Ante Hamersmit on Unsplash
chloe-o-contributor
Chloe O.
Alternative Dispute Resolution professional and Certified Divorce Coach
The Divorce and Separation Coach

Not all marriages end in drama and fanfare. In many cases, couples just grow apart. They stop loving each other or simply evolve in different directions. In these kinds of situations, most couples agree that there is no need for war or acrimony. They have come to the conclusion that their marriage is over, but it doesn’t mean everything they had together was a lie and should be destroyed. The question is then about how to end the marriage peacefully and with dignity, rather than angrily and destructively.

Key to the success of such an approach will be the intent of both parties. The more committed they are to managing things with low conflict, the more likely they are to succeed. Because, contrary to what one might think, divorcing amicably can be difficult. You need to negotiate the terms of your agreements, which requires compromise and flexibility. In many ways, divorcing in court is the easy way out: you are delegating the decision-making to a judge. It involves great cost and means you have no control over the terms of your divorce, but it doesn’t involve agreeing to some of the other spouse’s requests.

Couples are more likely to divorce peacefully when they have learned to trust and communicate with each other during their marriage. If the couple has worked together as a team in raising their children and running a family, they are better able to leverage these skills once again at the time of separation. Trust is a key ingredient here as it allows each spouse to feel confident that the other isn’t trying to stab them in the back, and that the proposals they are making are reasonable. It doesn’t mean they will agree on everything, but it means that they are both willing to listen to the logic behind the other person’s position, and to contemplate things from their point of view, without assuming any ill intentions.

Most importantly though, the key to a successful divorce is to seek professional support. Even for a couple who is starting things off with the best of intentions, there is always a degree of conflict involved in divorce. The process requires disentangling two lives, which means everyone is losing something. There will inevitably be times when the soon-to-be-divorced couple will disagree on how to proceed. Professional support can help them get unstuck and explore other options. They can help them leverage conflict de-escalation techniques to make sure they don’t become entrenched in seemingly irreconcilable positions. As mentioned above, amicable divorce is hard work, and it is sometimes difficult to stay the course. The key here is not just to get help when you need it, it is to reach out to like-minded professionals whose objective is to support you in achieving a low-conflict divorce. Caution is therefore of the essence in selecting the professionals who will see you through your divorce negotiations.

The prize, however, makes it all worth the effort. By having a peaceful divorce, you will be preserving your own and your children’s wellbeing by limiting stress, conflict, and uncertainty. If you are co-parenting, this means you will ultimately find it easier to work together as a team to raise your children going forward and have a much better post-divorce relationship. A peaceful divorce will also help you achieve a much better outcome because it will be one that you agreed to willingly, after careful consideration, not one that was dictated by a third party who doesn’t know you. Unfortunately, the idea that divorce is a war where someone loses and someone wins still dominates mindsets. The reality is that everyone will lose a little and win a little. But when you go to court and turn the process into an open conflict, everybody loses, including your children and your bank account.

Read more articles by Chloe O.

About Chloe O.

“My name is Chloe O., I am an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) professional and a Certified Divorce Coach. I specialise in working with women to help them reduce conflict during and after divorce by improving their negotiation and communication skills with their spouse. The objective is to work towards an amicable divorce outcome in order to minimise the emotional and financial cost of divorce. I work with all types of clients but I have extensive experience in supporting expatriates and international families who are dealing with the unique situation of living abroad during and after their divorce, with limited local family support, language barriers and relocation considerations.”

For more information about my work and services (including my Podcastsnewslettermyth-buster videos…), you can visit my website and/or follow me on InstagramFacebook or LinkedIn.

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