Ending a marriage is an unwanted possibility for 40 to 50 percent of all couples in this country. There are ways to make divorce less painful, however.
One part of divorce that sometimes doesn't get enough attention is sharing the news with friends and family. Delivering this news with care can make a big difference. Being direct is the most effective way of handling this. Lengthy explanations or the reasons behind the breakup should not be provided. Inappropriate reactions or unsolicited advice should be politely rejected. People may be forewarned of this news with a written note that there is difficult news being shared.
Divorce may also bring out the aggressiveness in a soon-to-be former spouse. It is important to prepare for the potential that the spouse may act differently and have a plan for coping emotionally. Nonetheless, kindness and fairness may help ease this transition and make the divorce less disruptive.
The children's well-being is a priority. Parents must honestly consider whether geography, work schedules and finances make equal custody time with the children feasible. Parents may need to agree to different ratios, especially if equal visitation time disrupts a child's schooling or ties with family and friends. Additionally, the children should never become involved or participate in the parent's divorce disputes.
If the parties try to settle property division or other matters, a strict equal division should not be the goal. Assets may have different meaning to each spouse. Also, giving up property in return for agreement on an issue may help expedite settlements.
Couples may also candidly consider whether mediation is an appropriate method to resolve differences. This involves a neutral mediator who helps the couple settle property division, custody, support and other issues outside of court. Couples must be willing to compromise and be transparent about their finances. If they cannot enter negotiations in this spirit or control most of the knowledge and finances, mediation may not be an effective option.
A prenuptial agreement, known as a matrimonial agreement in Louisiana, can serve as insurance that can settle issues well before divorce. Entering these agreements also encourage couples to reveal their finances and themselves and address matters that may come up in a marriage.