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Considering divorce? 5 steps to take to resolve it amicably

Divorce is a major decision with important emotional, financial and parenting aspects. Even if you're sure divorce is the right decision, you may worry that the process of getting one will be so expensive and acrimonious that it's almost worse than the status quo.

Good news! You can take active steps before your divorce that could prevent that. Divorce mediation, for example, is a method many couples use instead of the traditional, adversarial court process to resolve their issues more amicably. You can promote a friendlier divorce with information and good communication.

A mediator and Huffington Post blogger just posted five good steps to take. Here's a short summary (to read more, click on the link at the end of this post):

1. Talk to a divorce mediator before you file. Divorce mediation could be right for you, and it could save you time, money and pain. In this process, a neutral third party works with you and your spouse and helps you develop your own solutions to property division, child custody, support, and other issues. It's more private and much less likely to be acrimonious.

2. Understand the legal options and make your own decisions. It can be tempting just to take the advice you're given by an attorney or mediator, but you can't afford to do that. Take the time to understand the legal framework and the options within it -- there may be options you would prefer over what is recommended.

3. Try to make decisions based on your long-term values. Whether your divorce is friendly or filled with anger, it's an emotional time. Don't make important decisions based on how angry and hurt you are. Think about your future and how you'd like it to be.

4. Don't push your spouse into litigation. We all get angry, but don't let hurt or betrayal make your choices. Don't accuse your spouse of wrongdoing unless you want your divorce to go to trial. If you say something you shouldn't have, just apologize. Remember, if you have kids you'll need to work with your ex for years to come.

5. Focus on the kids. Unless your ex is actually abusive, your children need both of you. You will need to co-parent, make financial decisions, and attend weddings, births and other events with your ex. Focus on your kids' needs now, and it will be much easier later.

If you decide to get a divorce, your intentions, attitude and tactics can make a big difference in whether it goes smoothly or turns into a hurtful, expensive battle.

Source: Huffington Post, "Five Best Choices You Can Make When It Comes to Your Divorce," Michelle Rozen, May 13, 2013

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