In any divorce situation, the ideal way to settle disputes is by finding solutions together. The emphasis is on both parties "winning," so to speak. Keeping a semi-friendly relationship with your soon-to-be ex-spouse is definitely the preferred and wiser choice. With that being said, both spouses must be willing to work together. Otherwise, the adversarial approach to dissolving your marriage will play out. Unfortunately, most of the advice we give one another in our society today is adversarial. Resolving by force and "winning" is far more common than working together, even in divorce situations. What will your choice be if there is no chance of rebuilding your marriage? Will you choose to work together peacefully, or will you play the adversarial game?
Here is some insight to help you sort out the pros, and cons between finding solutions and taking the adversarial approach.
Definite issues that must be addressed:
Listing divorce issues you will be working through with your spouse is step number one. Some of these include: custody and visitation (if you have children), property division, spousal support, child support, retirement, assets, debts, insurance, etc. Do your part to come together and agree on solutions for the sake of both you, and your children. It's critical to be transparent with all of your information, otherwise you will be looking at having to hire a forensic accountant. This will cost a pretty penny, which will further drain your financial reservoir. In addition, you will save yourselves years of mental and emotional distress by working towards solutions together. Staying on friendly terms with one another, because of your peaceful "exit strategy," will be an added bonus.
The adversarial approach to your divorce:
This adversarial approach to your divorce process is destructive, and far too common. You'll find that you will both end up taking sides, fighting to prevail. The emphasis here is on "winning the fight." We emphasize winning far too much, even in the world of divorce. Sadly, most of the advice you will receive from those on "your side," will be adversarial, as well. We are taught to take sides growing up, so naturally we do so when it comes to divorce. This is another tragedy, and consequence of divorce. If you take the adversarial approach, you end up directly affecting relationships you've both had with your extended families, another tragedy that is so unnecessary. This cycle of conflict begins to grow and grow. In the end, I am sad to say, you end up threatening each other's survival. The hurt and destruction that occurs from taking the adversarial approach is huge on many levels. It will negatively affect your emotional, mental, physical and financial well-being not only during the time of your divorce proceedings, but for years to come. It is up to you, and your soon-to-be ex-spouse to take the high road, and work through your issues together peacefully.
Consequences of taking the adversarial approach:
There are always consequences to the choices we make, including the approach we take to get through divorce. Unfortunately, with the adversarial approach the consequences are negative. For example, everything one spouse chooses to do to make sure he, or she comes out the "winner," will most likely cause the other spouse to be non-cooperative, pushing him, or her further away. You don't want to "lose," and neither does your spouse. You both choose to "fight" as a way of protecting yourselves when put in the position of having to be adversarial. This terrible cycle of conflict continues to grow. Now you are choosing to feel much more angry, hurt and vulnerable from the relationship. At this point you are threatening one another's survival. Feelings of helplessness set in, and so you begin to "fight" with all your might. It feels like a personal war. You end up spending negative energy fighting for survival instead of finding solutions. If you can step back, and realize that finding solutions will help you move through your divorce process with as little pain and additional heartache as possible. When you choose, or are put in the position of having to be adversarial, conflict and damage is the outcome; no one wins.
Most divorce settlements end up in the middle:
It's a fantasy to think that if you fight hard enough, which will most likely take years, you will "win" it all. Most settlements end up somewhere in the middle. You most likely think if you fight hard your troubles will go away. That's usually not the case, instead issues are settled somewhere in the middle. No one wins! You will most likely find that your adversarial approach to dissolving your marriage was not worth it. In the years to come, you will look back, and realize how much wiser it would have been if you could have worked together through your divorce process. It would have taken a lot less time, energy and effort. In addition, it would have cost you far less financially and emotionally.
In conclusion, if you have made the decision that divorce is the only solution, do your part to be a peacemaker. Encourage your spouse to join you in dissolving your marriage by looking for solutions together. Take the high road, and if your spouse is leaning towards being adversarial, encourage him or her to not go there. Share the realities of the negative consequences that come with taking the adversarial approach with him or her.. Hopefully your spouse will see the writing on the wall, and choose to join you in dissolving your marriage peacefully with positive solutions that will be as fair as possible (somewhere in the middle).. If you want to be somewhat friendly, and respectful towards each other after divorcing, work your settlement (including every issue) out together. You will save yourselves, and your children years of emotional, mental, financial and emotional distress! You will be able to move on with your lives with a healthy and peaceful frame of mind. Someday you will all thank each other, as well!