Too many people assume that a divorce must be painful and contentious. However, the fact is that many divorcing spouses want to end their marriage without destroying each other’s lives. They prefer to take an amicable, considerate approach to the process.

If this is what you are hoping for, take note of these common traits that often contribute to a respectful divorce.

Characteristics of a respectful divorce

  1. They avoid litigation. Staying out of court is critical in keeping a divorce peaceful. Litigating family legal matters pits parties against each other, fostering feelings of anger and aggression instead of incentivizing cooperation and negotiation. As such, parties seeking a respectful divorce typically utilize non-litigious models like mediation or collaborative or cooperative divorce.
  2. Parties minimize mudslinging. Often, divorces turn ugly when parties set out to hurt each other, rather than work together. In an amicable split, divorcing spouses refrain from badmouthing each other in front of the children and keep sensitive information off social media. They respect each other’s privacy and do not attempt to harass each other.
  3. Children are the top priority. One reason why people often want to remain respectful during divorce is to protect the children. If your children are your top priority, keep in mind that you may be divorcing your partner, but your children will still have both parents. Staying civil and resolving matters cooperatively can make it easier for you both to remain active in your children’s lives and shield them from unnecessary conflict.
  4. Parties appreciate the difference between fair and equal. Fairness allows both parties to enjoy an equitable outcome. However, that does not mean each person gets equal shares of property or parenting time. Knowing the difference makes it easier to reach agreeable terms regarding equitable property division and co-parenting schedules.
  5. Parties ask for help. Seeking help can be a critical component in keeping the peace during divorce, as it can alleviate the expectations and stress on the divorcing spouses. Attorneys can manage the legal aspects of the process; financial professionals can provide guidance on monetary issues; counselors can help with understanding mental health issues and the best interests of the children.

If you are hoping for a respectful divorce, knowing these common traits can help you make decisions that support your goals.