A member of a divorce support group to which I belong asked if it was possible to do a divorce amicably. He is at the beginning stage of the divorce and his soon-to-be ex suggested that they use the attorney that she had retained. He is feeling lost and confused as most of us are when confronted with such a life changing experience.
So is it possible? The answer is really dependent on individual circumstances and the parties involved. Here’s is what I told him…
With a divorce that lasted 3 years, I would say being able to do it amicably is an ideal solution. A contentious divorce is a sure road to financial ruin and can often result in the fight costing more than what is being fought for. The exception being your children. If she isn’t willing to give you the parenting time that you think is best for you and your children, then you have no choice but to fight. And in that case, I would say beg, borrow or do what you have to do to ensure that you are involved as the father to your children.
All the rest is just a business decision. Make a list of what material and financial issues are important to you. Cross-reference that to what she wants. If there are conflicts, then financially quantify how much it is worth to you with the understanding that a divorce attorney will cost you at least $250/hr (with most decent ones charging $400/hr). I think it’s vital to keep pride and emotions out of splitting up the possessions and money. Sometimes it’s better to “let her win” than it is to fight when it comes to such things.
Regarding child support, I think it’s a pretty standard formula calculated using what is called the child support worksheet. I think the only complication would be if either one of you is trying to impute income to the other side. But if you have both worked during the marriage and have a history of income, it should be pretty straight-forward.
The only other point would be alimony. Since she left you and started seeing another man, you would probably have a case for paying no alimony…especially if she is living with the other man.
I’m always sad to hear about someone just starting a divorce process but it seems like both of you just want out which bodes well for being able to do it “cleanly”. In any event, if she has retained an attorney, you should at least consult with one. Just try not to let that snowball into a fight where you end up communicating only through attorneys.
How was your divorce? Were you and your spouse able to divorce amicably?