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How to keep your divorce civil

Divorce often brings to mind court battles, years of fighting, aggressive lawyers, revenge and more ugly qualities. However, your divorce does not have to be this way. You can take steps to increase the chances of civility.

Having a civil divorce leads to lower costs, a quicker process, a better relationship with your ex and less stress for your children. With so many benefits, it is at least worth trying these tips for a more respectful and cooperative divorce.

Try alternatives to litigation

Litigation, or going to court, is not always the best method for divorce. If your spouse is willing, try mediation or collaborative law instead. If you choose mediation, you will speak to a neutral facilitator to discuss some or all terms of the divorce, putting you two in control of the outcome and encouraging communication. Collaborative law is a middle ground between mediation and litigation. You use lawyers but figure out the divorce agreement out of court.

Choose the right attorney

No matter which approach you choose, you will need legal guidance or representation. Make sure you choose an attorney who understands your needs and supports your way of getting a divorce. Aggression does not automatically equal a good lawyer. In fact, when it comes to a civil divorce, you want someone who is not adversarial to contribute to an amicable resolution.

Always put the children first

In or out of court, things will get rough as you try to come to a workable agreement. It may be tempting to act out of anger, frustration or hurt. At these times, it is important to remember the welfare of your children. You can reduce the negative impact divorce will have on them by doing your best to focus on their needs instead of on getting revenge on your ex. That is how the judge will rule, so follow that route as well, as you know better than a judge does what is best for your children.