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Advice, please, on how I can really have an "amicable divorce"

(66 Posts)
BEAUTlFUL Sat 05-Sep-09 14:00:25

DH and I came back from holiday last week, and within 48 hours he said he wanted us to split up. I had seemed "cold" on holiday and he is fed up. I was a bit cold on holiday - I just don't respect him any more. I don't know why, it's all just gone.

We have two kids, aged 6 and 1.

So, we are divorcing. He wanted us to stay together in the house but I refused (I think it will just be too confusing), so he is looking for a nearby flat to rent. He says it's a bad time to sell the house so we will do that in a year or so.

We are talking a lot and agreeing on many things. So far it is very amicable, even friendly. How can I make sure it stays like this? I don't think he has anyone else, I think he just needs someone who worships him and I just can't.

He says he's hoping deep-down it might just be a trial separation, but we have been here a few times before and this is it for me. I told him that and he accepts it. I am very, very upset for the kids (who still don't know), but relieved that all the angst is over. I'm finding dignity again that I thought I'd lost forever.

So... Any tips on keeping this so amicable? I am scared it will veer out of control, but so far we are in total agreement with everything regarding money, house and children. Can it stay this way, if both parties really want to split?

Hopeful stories most apreciated please! Please don't frighten me.

TDiddy Sat 05-Sep-09 14:06:34

You sound as though you are already on the right track. Why not both sit and plan what you both want out of the divorce just as you would out of marriage.

Go for arbitration route. Friends of mine had combined legal bills of over 250k.

BEAUTlFUL Sat 05-Sep-09 14:08:44

That's a great idea about planning it, thanks. He'll like that, and it will help me to manage my expectations. He is the more grounded out of us.

What is arbitration? Is that like mediation or collaberative law?

FabBakerGirlIsBack Sat 05-Sep-09 14:11:43

Is it your decision too not to try and sell the house?

Dazmum Sat 05-Sep-09 14:14:48

It's a good idea to try and decide mutually how to divide things up, and make money arrangements before solicitors get involved, as once they get included things can turn nasty, it's the tone of the letters they write, and they charge for each letter too. We went for a legal separation first, then I did have an amicable divorce, although it did have it's moments! Hope it goes well for you.

BEAUTlFUL Sat 05-Sep-09 14:15:39

Fab... I'm OK with not selling it, at least for the moment. I'd like something to stay the same for the DC. Plus we have a great mortgage deal (just over base rate interest) that I'd never get again. Next summer I'd prefer to move nearer to my parents, but only if by then we have sorted out the money.

BEAUTlFUL Sat 05-Sep-09 14:18:36

Dazmum -- yes, that's what we're both scared of, that once solicitors step in they'll subtly encourage us to disagree.

At the moment DH is being incredibly reasonable, even promising that he'll still come over to catch spiders for me. I don't know if that's guilt, or whether he is terrified that I would flip out and stop him seeing the DC (I wouldn't), or what... But he is being marvellous.

racmac Sat 05-Sep-09 14:45:10

I would suggest going to mediation - there will be a mediation service locally to you - they will sit down with both of you as an independent 3rd party and help you come to arrangements for everything - including the children if need be.

Once you have come to an agreement then you can pass it to Solicitors who will draft the agreement into legal terms for you - they dont then need to get involved in the decisions if you are both happy but they can still do the legal side.

By the way not all Solicitors will encourage arguments - i certainly never have - Ive always encouraged clients to keep things amicable - its easier for everyone - its usually the clients that start arguing over silly things!

Mediation can be obtained on legal aid if you are eligible
Good luck - hope it works for you

BEAUTlFUL Sat 05-Sep-09 14:45:42

Bumping shamelessly for any more tips...

BonsoirAnna Sat 05-Sep-09 14:47:03

Solicitors don't subtly get you to disagree - rather, they raise the difficult issues that you hadn't thought of or were in denial about, and then you start not agreeing anymore!

BEAUTlFUL Sat 05-Sep-09 14:47:18

Thanks racmac! Would that lead us to a divorce or a legal separation? To get divorced, one of us would have to file, wouldn't we?

BEAUTlFUL Sat 05-Sep-09 14:49:22

Hi BonsoirAnna... and eek, when you put it like that, it feels inevitable that we're going to fall out.

I'm hoping that we can come out of this as strong friends and co-parents. That is possible, isn't it?

racmac Sat 05-Sep-09 14:52:58

You can have a legal separation if thats what you want - personally i dont see the point - you may as well go for divorce if thats your long term aim because you will end up paying more in legal fees

You can divorce immediately on grounds of adultery or unreasonable behaviour (you could come up with a list of unreasonable behaviours that you can agree between you - as long as they are serous enough to convince the Judge) or wait 2 years and do it by consent. - this gives you time to come to agreements and allow things to settle down.

BA - is right - often you mention something like pensions and then the dh gets all cross because he thinks that dw isnt entitled and then it ends up with them arguing - but as a Solcitor you HAVE to inform clients of everything or you wouldnt be doing your job properly.

TDiddy Sat 05-Sep-09 14:53:54

sorry, I meant mediation blush not arbitration.

Meant to say how sorry I am to hear about your situation.

racmac Sat 05-Sep-09 14:54:39

Yes it is possible to stay friends - but it can be hard to do so when you both move on - be as honest with each other as you can be and keep the children at the centre of every decision you make.

Dont be afraid to say - im not sure let me think on that overnight - dont rush into decisions you may later regret.

BitOfFun Sat 05-Sep-09 14:59:39

Sorry to hear this, Beautiful- hopefully this will be the start of a happy new chapter for you.

I have had an amicable divorce in the past, from dd1's dad, and it worked because we were both generous and well-intentioned. We lived apart for two years first, and that took a lot of heat out of things, I suppose, because by then we had got over the emotional upset of separating and were used to communicating without arguing. It is probably better than trying to agree who has been "unreasonable", but that's just my opinion. Good luck.

BEAUTlFUL Sat 05-Sep-09 15:16:40

Thanks racmac. So you think you'd go with the two-year wait, like BoF (hi BoF!!!) decided on? I don't know why but I felt it would be better to file for divorce straight away. As in, "It's over, so let's just finish it now." Maybe that's a bit rash though.

BEAUTlFUL Sat 05-Sep-09 15:19:06

Thanks for your post too, TDiddy, and your lovely bit about feeling sorry about the situation. Possibly I am still in denial, but I'm really not that upset. I'm a bit shocked, and surprised that he wants us to split, but as long as we can do the best to make it as painless as possible for the DC, it'll be for the best.

BEAUTlFUL Sat 05-Sep-09 15:20:28

DH said he has been unhappy for a year! A whole year, and he never said anything. I will never, ever understand that. I must have made myself look like a total bitch if he was that scared to open up.

BEAUTlFUL Sat 05-Sep-09 15:25:10

Thanks, lovely BoF, for your post. That makes me feel a lot better about everything.

I am beautifying like mad since this happened, do you think that's insane? Within hours of The Talk I was doing my nails. It's something positive to do, and it will keep my spirits up if I think I look nice despite my world imploding.

BitOfFun Sat 05-Sep-09 15:27:58

Good plan - get ready for your renaissance smile

giveloveachance Sat 05-Sep-09 15:58:31

I hope it is indeed possible, trying to have an amicable split from my DP too - even going on holiday as a family. Its hard and I have to bite my lip A LOT!!!

With regard to the 2yrs, from what I've heard, it is easy and less expensive to wait for the 2yrs separation, otherwise documents have to be filed with evidence of why he is seeking a divorce, ie grounds. Once that kettle of fish is opened its hard to stay amicable. Solicitors will ask him to pick apart your relationship to find grounds. And if you are both hopeful it is just a trial separation, then no need to rush a divorce - you may need a financial/legal separation though. My parents are finanically and legal separated but not divorced - have been like this for twenty years!

You sound amazingly calm - hope its not shock, but be prepared for a bit of a meltdown once the reality hits home.

Its good that you are taking time out to be good to yourself that will help.

keep strong and heres to a happier time ahead for you.

BitOfFun Sat 05-Sep-09 16:20:00

Good point, giveloveachance, I was going to come back on to say something similar. After I split up with my ex-h, it took a few weeks for the eerie clam to switch to being pole-axed by grief- I remember phoning my mum sobbing at three in the morning sad. Even if it's the right decision, somewhere down the line you may well feel the loss of all your hopes for the relationship, and have a bit of a wobble. But you will get through it - just remember to be gentle on yourself, and lean on your friends/family a little and let yourself feel sad a while if you need to. We will all be here too if you need some support- it's a bit of a road to travel, but you can come out of it stronger and happier x

TDiddy Sat 05-Sep-09 17:01:45

BitofFun - very kind and thoughtful posts.

Beautiful - keep planning the next step and think of your DH as a very good friend that you have made for life. It sounds as though he is fairly reasonable so this could work out fairly smoothly esp. with some of the advice above.

blinder Sat 05-Sep-09 17:13:50

I would say not to be afraid to disagree sometimes. I would be aiming for good negotiations and honest communication rather than friendship at first. If friendship is the priority, one or both of you might end up compromising too much or attempting to second-guess what the other wants when it comes to finance and the kids. That could lead to resentment and a much more difficult time in the long run.

My best advice is to vow to treat your ex fairly and honestly and trust that solutions will be found - but not to try to hold onto a great friendship until all the details are ironed out. IME the friendship does return once all the discussions have been completed, but a very well-boundaried almost businesslike relationship is the way to go until then.

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