How to Have a Happy Divorce

A happy divorce may sound like a contradiction in terms, but it is surprisingly achievable.

Initially, it may be difficult – impossible even – to imagine having an amicable relationship with your former partner.  However, at West Family Lawyers, we have experienced many situations where that ‘impossible’ has been achieved.

We know divorce is never easy – particularly when there are children involved.  However, there are many things that separating couples can do which will have a positive influence on their relationship during divorce proceedings and into the future.

Here are some key steps that our clients find helpful in paving the way to a happy divorce.

Step 1:  Try to accept that everyone has a different perspective on a situation.  Even if you are at odds with your former partner, remember that they are entitled to their view even if it differs from yours.

Step 2:  Some couples choose to manage their separation and divorce proceedings without the assistance of a family lawyer.  Experience has taught us that a caring and supportive family lawyer is a significant asset in an amicable divorce, especially when children are involved. 

Step 3:  Understand that both parties have played a role in the circumstances leading up to the separation.  It is far easier to focus on the wrongdoing of the other party and to absolve oneself of any fault, but the blame game is counter-productive and destructive.  Accepting some responsibility for the decision to separate – however hard that may be – will be liberating. 

Step 4:  Try and forgive your ex-partner.  Depending on the situation, this may be extremely difficult to do, but try and focus on the fact that everyone makes mistakes.  Even if you think forgiveness is impossible, it is worth giving it a real go.  

Step 5: Forgive yourself.  Guilt is a significant obstacle to emotional wellbeing and self-forgiveness is a crucial step in your healing process.

Step 6:  Be kind to yourself.  Invest in your physical and emotional health.  The stronger you feel mentally and physically, the greater the chance of a positive experience.   

Step 7:  Co-operate.   If you approach your divorce in battle mode, communication with your ex-partner will be problematic.  Rather put your energies into co-operating and collaborating with them.  This is especially important when children are involved.  The aim is always to negotiate a resolution with as little disruption, conflict and distress as possible.   If you have had a family together, your ex-partner is likely to be part of your life for a considerable time, so it is in everyone’s best interests to work collaboratively.   

Step 8:  What is best for the children?  It will be easier to achieve a happy divorce if you keep reminding yourself of the children’s best interests.  We know this isn’t always easy, especially when the two of you don’t agree on some parenting issues, but working out a common goal for your children is extremely important.  After all, you both love your children and want them to be happy too.

Step 9:  Talk yourself into a happy divorce.  You may not believe that it is possible, but the more you tell yourself that it can be done, the more likely you’ll achieve a more positive outcome.  Be kind to yourself during the times when you are feeling negative, angry or despondent, and continually remind yourself why it is advantageous to work hard towards the goal of an amicable outcome.

Step 10:  Focus on unity and not division.  Even though you have made the decision to divorce, it is really helpful if you make a concerted effort to put on a united front.  Avoid conflict situations when any children are with you and work through any disagreements or disputes when you are alone with your partner or during mediation

A happy divorce doesn’t happen by chance.  Nor does it happen overnight.  But it most certainly is possible if there is a strong focus on self-care, communication, collaboration and co-operation. 

Want to find out more about getting divorced in Australia?  Our team of compassionate and caring family lawyers in Perth have the expertise and experience to help you achieve a ‘happier’ divorce and we invite you to get in touch through our website or by calling 08 9380 9111. 

Please note, the above article on how to have a happy divorce in Australia is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice.  For specific advice, please contact your family lawyer in Perth.

Natalie Dimmock

Natalie has worked in family law for 18 years, with skills and qualifications in law, mediation, psychology, management, and company directorship.

Natalie is equally comfortable at mediation negotiating a settlement and in the Family Court advocating for clients. She has experience in all areas of family law, including child support, financial settlements, and parenting issues. She is part of a small team of trusted family lawyers in Perth practising in the Family Court of Western Australia.

Find out more about Natalie here.

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