The Amicable Divorce - has anyone actually managed to do this?

(16 Posts)
gessami Wed 06-May-15 18:33:11

So I'm considering divorce/ separation. But I really want to do it peacefully. I can't put the DC through any more heartache.

H cheated on me. We have been trying to save the marriage, but I'm starting to think it's not going to work.

We have 3 wonderful DC who have already suffered a lot of upheaval over the last year. How do we do this without it turning ugly?

Has anyone managed it?

Goodbetterbest Wed 06-May-15 22:04:15

Mediation is going well for us.

But I am very tolerant and not pointing the finger and blaming XH for his cheating.

It's all very nice up to a point, but I think it's going to get tricky now I've had legal advice and his expectations are way out. I'm going for a much bigger split of equity in the house, and am going to insist on proper child access so he has to have his children once a month at least, which will be a massive inconvenience for him I sure.

RedCrayons Wed 06-May-15 22:07:38

How does mediation work? We tried 'the talk' but it just ended up with Bunfight, going over the same old stuff.

RedCrayons Wed 06-May-15 22:08:53

Oh balls. Sorry for the hijack OP I misread and thought you had posted about mediation. Sorry

KarmaNoMore Wed 06-May-15 22:40:57

We managed well for a couple of years. Very amicable split, probably because we both were beyond caring (we were very good friends but we had fallen out of love).

This was great for DS, as he didn't have to witness all the bickering or nastiness, which is what ultimately damage children. We managed contact well (he was young enough to see overnight contact as having a little holiday with his dad). No need to separate friends as we continued to meet with mutual friends, family and even could go in holidays together.

Looking back, things that I could suggest is to get the book "Putting Children First" which is a manual for separated families. It has some very helpful information from how to tell the children you are going to split, to how to communicate effectively to be able to continue parenting together as a separated family. We found that book extremely useful.

Mediation is the way to go, and you need to go through it first nowadays. (You cannot longer go straight to court without passing through mediation, which is great because as soon as the courts get involved, you really need to remain very objective and level headed, or hell brakes loose).

However, things turned sour when we tried to separate the assets as we both had very different ideas about what a fair split of the assets would be. I have to be honest and say that the divorce process was so damaging that neither DS or I have seen ex in years.

I think that something that would have helped us, was to separate the assets early, when there was plenty of goodwill and no new partners fighting like cats for money that didn't belong to them in the first place.

gessami Thu 07-May-15 07:23:28

thank you.

I'm hoping assets won't be too much of a problem. we have way more than I need, so there should be plenty to go round.

but I guess we should tackle it first anyway.

I suppose I'm most worried about the effect on the kids. I'll have a look at that book.

KarmaNoMore Fri 08-May-15 18:34:57

Fthe important thing with the children is to avoid uncertainity, so don't talk to them until you and DH have agrred about were each of you will live, and how often and where contact with the non resident parent will take place. This really makes a huge difference in how they take it.

As for the division of assets, as long as you both understand that the idea is that both of you will end having a similar standard of living, that the current standard of living might not be longer affordable and you both have similar salaries, this should be relatively straight forward.

STIDW Sat 09-May-15 22:48:48

Not sure about amicable but we managed to keep communication open remained civil.

Couple counselling (Relate) can help prevent bunfights in front of the children. Most people think couple counselling is to mend the relationship, but it can help couples readjust and communicate positively so they can separate with dignity too. Once both parties have readjusted to the emotional realties of divorce it's more likely constructive progress with arrangements for finances and children can be made more quickly.

Mediation is different from counselling. The aim is to go through the finances and arrangements for children together with the help of a mediator to find a practical way forward that can work for all the family.

gessami Sun 10-May-15 22:59:07

STIDW did it help to ease the kids through? i want it to have the minimum possible impact on them.

ImperialBlether Sun 10-May-15 23:03:26

I made it amicable.

I told the children they had no choice - they would stay with me and see their dad (who would be living with the OW) whenever they wanted, whether that was in the middle of the night or for a month in the summer (neither of these things happened)

I told the children that the OW was lovely, that she was good fun and loved children. I hadn't met her and still haven't.

I told them that they had two parents who were always there for them - whether that was when they were young or at graduation or at their wedding or whenever - both of us would be there for them, no arguments, no bad feeling.

It was REALLY hard, but doable.

gessami Mon 11-May-15 00:11:04

I think you're a better person than me imperial! that sounds really really hard. but it worked. well done

STIDW Mon 11-May-15 22:44:58

STIDW did it help to ease the kids through? i want it to have the minimum possible impact on them.

Its well documented that high levels of ongoing conflict between separated parents is associated with poor long term outcomes for children. Children who are insecure about their natural parents tend to grow up with low self esteem. If communication between parents is distorted children cannot learn from example how to reconcile differences or communicate positively. Lack of self esteem and poor communication tends to lead to emotional and behavioural problems later such as teenage pregnancy and dysfunctional adulthood relationships.

The evidence is counselling helps couples to work through their separation so that they have a more realistic view of the relationship breakdown and conflict is avoided or reduced to a minimum. When there is empathy and understanding communication is positive and problems can be resolved constructively. If there is no empathy or understanding communication is distorted and problems can't be resolved positively. So yes counselling can indirectly benefit children enormously.

Suffdad79 Tue 12-May-15 17:12:16

In answer to the original post and having not only been through a divorce but seeing others go through it, I simply don't believe that a truly amicable divorce is possible.
I've been split from my ex wife for two years and divorced for 7 months and it is still incredibly acrimonious. That is of course due to both of us, I'm not saying I'm a saint and she's the one that's totally in the wrong. There has been no proper closure and still lots of negative emotions swirling around. Though sometimes we get to a point where there is a tentative truce but something invariably happens that unleashes everything again. And that's a cycle I see with many of my divorced friends sadly.

mrsdavidbowie Tue 12-May-15 17:16:25

I tried...I emotionally distanced myself from him and was very bright and breezy, whereas he was "woe is me" and "mum has kicked me out".
He is the one sending nasty snidy texts and telling dcs that he is not their parent anymore.
But they see through him.

chaosmonkey Tue 12-May-15 17:26:23

We had horrid acrimonious divorce. X didn't think I had the right to leave him, and he was angry for a long time. I had to reduce contact to email only, and all handovers were done via school to minimize contact and so on.

After 2-3 years, things started to really calm down. I realized that I wasn't being fair to him in some ways, and he improved his behaviour massively. We now chat for around 1 hour a week - updating him on kids, discussing best ways forward etc. We agree shared strategies for the kids, and (as much as you can!) stick to them.

Just wanted you to know that even when it's bad, it can still improve and get to a place where you all work together on child-rearing. We've genuinely worked really well for the last 3 years. To the point where I offered the spare room to him and his new wife, so they could afford to sell up and move house, rather than having to run 2 households when they got jobs in a different city.

(Obviously, this only works if both parties want what's best for the kids - if your X insists on being an arse there is nothing you can do about it)

gessami Fri 15-May-15 15:02:50

thanks for the advice everyone.

good to know that it can be done!

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