The 5 Golden Rules to Avoid Conflict in Divorce

Uncontested Divorce Mediation

Posted July 17, 2019

uncontested divorce in chicago

You and your spouse are planning a divorce, an event that will be different from anything else you have ever planned. Chances are that feelings are hurt and you’re having to completely reassess what you want out of life. This is a time of high emotion and conflict is so terribly common in divorce that it’s become stereotypical to assume a husband and wife divorcing will naturally fight like alley cats given any opportunity.

But you are also a sane, responsible adult and your spouse probably is too, deep down. And you know that a peaceful uncontested divorce in Chicago is less costly and ultimately more beneficial for you, your spouse, and any children you may have. If you can make it. The key, of course, to a well-planned uncontested divorce is to avoid the conflict that so often pits exes against each other and takes the divorce to a costly and arbitrarily decided courtroom.

If you want the best results for your divorce, despite how you may feel right now, then follow the five golden rules to avoid conflict in divorce. These five simple guidelines can help you keep your cool and negotiate like someone thinking about the future instead of dwelling on the past or getting caught up in the emotional turmoil of the present.

Here are the five golden rules of conflict-free divorce:

1) Don’t Start Dating (New People or Each Other)

The first golden rule sounds like a no-brainer but it is one that many divorcing couples struggle with. The allure of someone new who thinks you’re attractive or even the temptation to experience a hot, emotionally-laden “breakup fling” with your soon-to-be ex can be too much for many to resist.

You may be dying for a little self-esteem boost while closing the book on your marriage. Or you may find that divorce has suddenly spiked your physical attraction to your ex even though your heart and brain are in agreement about separation. These things are so common that it’s okay not to feel embarrassed by the urge. But don’t act on it.

If you want to keep unnecessary emotional turmoil out of the divorce negotiation room… delay that physical gratification. Don’t start looking for new people just yet. And resist the urge to hook up with your ex one last time unless you’re genuinely considering reconciliation instead.

2) Set Rules and Boundaries, Then Follow Them

Uncontested divorces in Chicago often work best when the separating couple outlines a few rock-solid agreements and then sticks to them. Agreeing not to date or backslide is an important first step. It’s important to maintain your new separated boundaries so that both of you can grow as independent people, and so that new-found independence won’t bother the other when they see you moving forward.

Consider making practical agreements with your spouse, writing them down, and both following your own guidelines. This is a good time to establish a ‘call first’ rule about visiting each other’s now-separate homes. This is a good time to practice child custody schedules to get an idea of what you want finalized in the divorce. And this is a good time to draw some clear financial lines that will help you separate finances more easily and smoothly in the near future.

Respect each other’s boundaries and remember that every rule is a two-way road. No rule should apply to just one separating spouse.

3) Work With a Mediator Instead of Dueling Lawyers

Hiring two lawyers automatically pit spouse against spouse in the effort to divorce. Personal lawyers are actually required by their job description to fight for your ‘best interests’ which can include fighting for a larger share of the split finances/assets, more child custody, or more unbalanced terms than might really be best for your long-term goals.

Instead, work with your spouse to choose a divorce mediator instead. A Chicago divorce mediator is one person who helps both spouses come together to build a functional and supportive divorce agreement. The mediator isn’t ‘on anyone’s side’ so the terms they suggest are only meant to help both spouses to achieve happy and productive lives as separate individuals.

4) Choose Neutral Ways to Talk About Disagreements

When you’re discussing matters in divorce negotiations, it can be tempting to refer to your past disagreements with the emotionally-charged language that pops immediately to mind. When talking about who gets the newest car, you might want to say “You bought me that car after you cheated on me!”. But there’s no actual purpose in bringing up these painful issues from the past, because you’re not trying to justify an at-fault divorce.

Instead, try to find neutral ways to discuss issues that would normally be accusatory or painful. Instead, say “I thought that car was a gift when we were trying to make amends”. Your spouse knows old pain and mistakes are there in the past. But you can avoid turning your productive negotiation into a fight by leaving the fighting words at the door. Be tactful in how you speak about disagreements and past problems, and it can really help.

5) Focus on a Better Future, Leave Past Wrongs Behind

Finally, focus your mind on the future. Your thoughts may be swirling around how things went wrong or how mad you are about your spouse’s behaviors, but these feelings won’t help you now. You are getting a divorce, and that should be the ultimate solution and resolution to all those past wrongs. Whether there was cheating, irresponsible spending, or harsh words traded in anger, none of that really matters now.

Your goal in negotiating an uncontested divorce in Chicago isn’t to make a point or punish your spouse, it’s to build the foundation for your new better life in the future. You want a divorce that fairly splits your assets so that you can live freely without your spouse; and your spouse can live freely without you. You want a reasonable custody agreement that prevents future conflicts instead of creating them so your kids can be as happy after the divorce as you are.

When you come to the mediation table, don’t worry about past wrongs. Focus only on how to build the best possible future for yourself, your spouse, and any children you may share. 

Contact a Divorce Mediation Attorney in Chicago Today

When both spouses can adhere to the 5 golden rules, then conflict in divorce really can be avoided. THere’s no need to fight over past wrongs and no need to seek punishment or vindication in the legal terms of the divorce. Instead, focus on the kind of divorce you will want two years from now, five years from now, and ten years from now. For more insights into Chicago divorce mediation and how to achieve the best possible results from the divorce you’re currently planning, contact Split Simple today.

Split Simple
Two Prudential Plaza
180 North Stetson Avenue #3500
Chicago, IL 60601