The Friendly Divorce: Resolve Legal Issues Effortlessly:
(Provided by: How to Divorce As Friends, by Bill Ferguson)
In any divorce, there are certain legal issues that need to be resolved. You need to decide who gets the children. What if any alimony should be paid and what the child support should be. You need to decide how to divide the property and the debts.

Usually, the people involved have very different opinions about how these questions should be answered. How you resolve these differences of opinion will affect the rest of you life. Basically, there are two opposite ways to resolve these issues... with very opposite results. One approach is adversarial. The other is non-adversarial. In the non-adversarial approach, the focus is on finding solutions that are fair and that work for everyone. Disputes get resolved by looking for solutions. The emphasis is on having everyone win. This approach allows couples to part as friends with their relationship and their mental well-being still intact.

The other approach, which is adversarial, is far more common and very destructive. In this approach, people draw sides against each other. Then they fight to have their side prevail. The emphasis is on winning, being the one who comes out on top. Disputes are resolved by force with little or no focus on resolving issues. This is the approach we've been taught by our society. We've been taught that in any dispute, there must be sides. One side will win and one side will lose. One person will end up on the top and one will end up on the bottom. Our job is to make sure were not the one on the bottom.

Most of the advice we give each other is adversarial. "Make sure you protect yourself. Do whatever it takes to come out ahead. Forget the other person." We are told to withdraw the bank accounts. Cancel the credit cards. Change the locks and hire a gun-slinging attorney. What we don't notice is that everything we do to make sure we come out ahead puts the other person further behind. The problem with this is that the other person doesn't cooperate. That person doesn't want to come out on the bottom anymore than you do, so your spouse fights. Your spouse fights just to protect him or herself from you. Then you have to fight to protect yourself from your spouse. Then your spouse gets scared and fights even harder to protect him or herself from you. Then you do the same. The cycle of conflict grows and grows. And when you start fighting over children and finances, your situation gets even worse. Not only do you have all the hurt and anger from the relationship, but now, you're threatening each other's survival. When you do this, people start to panic. Then they fight like their lives depend on it.

This fighting often becomes equivalent to full scale war. The hurt and destruction are enormous. Relationships are destroyed and financial resources are lost. The pain and suffering is often so great that people never recover. The adversarial approach not only produces great suffering, it also takes forever. When you put your focus on winning instead of finding solutions, you stop your forward progress. When you resolve issues by force, it's like playing tug-of-war. It takes a tremendous amount of effort to accomplish anything. Everything you do creates more effort and struggle. And when there is no focus on resolving issues, they don't get resolved.

In most contested cases, the people involved are so caught up in the fighting, that they don't even know what the basic issues are. It's insane. Every step you take as an adversary creates more adversariness against you. Everything you do to have your side prevail forces more opposition. When the game is one side against the other, there can only be conflict and damage. No one can win. We think that if we just fight hard enough, then somehow, the problem will either go away, or it will get resolved in our favor. Well, it doesn't. The problem doesn't go away and it seldom gets resolved the way we want. Most issues get resolved somewhere in the middle.

The final solution is one you could have worked out between the two of you with a lot less effort, a lot less expense and lot less suffering. So, if you want to divorce as friends, you need to take the non-adversarial approach. It's not a difficult thing to do. You just need to know how. To take the non-adversarial approach, there are four specific areas where you need to put your focus.

Go to: The Friendly Divorce Informational Section

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