How to end a marriage with respect
Divorce can bring on a lot of feelings, many of them negative. There is hurt, frustration, anger, and fear for what the future holds. While it’s easy to succumb to these feelings, you should avoid letting things get ugly. There are ways to end a marriage with respect.
Meet Christina and Derek, a couple in their 30’s who had a major issue they couldn’t reconcile. Both parents believed their children’s well-being was the top priority, and an ugly divorce would only hurt them. They both sought counseling to help manage their feelings while working to end the marriage with respect. They learned more about collaborative divorce, an alternative option that would avoid the typical courtroom stress during divorce. This allowed them to create a stable future moving forward, in the interest of their kids.
What does it look like to end a marriage with respect?
The foundation for marriage is trust, shared aspirations and commitment. It is also built on communication, boundaries, and collaboration. Ending a marriage with respect is based on those same principles. Here are some things to do while moving through the divorce process.
- Ask yourself who you want to be. Self-respect is as important as respecting others. It’s easy to feel like the victim and to want to take it out on your spouse. Ask yourself if gossip, bad-mouthing, demands, or vengeful behavior is who you want to be. It’s especially important to conduct yourself in the most respectful way possible during a high conflict situation.
- Communicate. If you have reservations or requests, communicate them in a calm and respectful way. Talk about your shared priorities. Be quick to empathize and avoid blame. Avoid conversations you know will set off negative feelings.
- Set boundaries. Be specific. You can tell your spouse if the “blame game” starts, you will need to leave the conversation until things calm down. If possible, work with a therapist to set healthy boundaries with each other. Boundaries are important, but you need to set them with love and respect.
- Make amends, when possible. Nobody is perfect. Don’t be afraid to make amends. Apologize for the things you did, or accept sincere apologies made to you, and then move on.
- Be honest and clear. Resentment occurs when you are secretive or unclear about expectations. Honesty is a huge part of respect.
Reasons to end a marriage with respect
There are many reasons to end a marriage with respect. The first is so it doesn’t drag out, costing both parties excess time, money, and energy. Your family, friends, and children can feel stressed when trying to remain neutral during a divorce. Ending a marriage with respect can have a positive impact on co-parenting and new relationships in the future. Settle your differences and gain closure.
Seek help from an attorney
There are some situations where ending a marriage with respect seems impossible, but before you jump to that conclusion, seek advice, support, and assistance to navigate a high conflict divorce. Whether you need help with a high conflict divorce or you’re ready to end your marriage with respect, contact the professionals at Best Legal Choices today.
Monica Donaldson Stewart is the managing attorney for the law firm of Donaldson Stewart PC, where she practices in all aspects of family law, including collaborative divorce and family law mediation.