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Amicable Divorce: What Lies Beneath

Nobody likes an ugly divorce. Not the spouses, not their children, not their friends and families — not even their attorneys, whose goal is to get the parties to agree. Unless you are starring in a reality TV show, constant conflict and continuous drama are not the keys to a successful outcome.

To avoid all the ugliness, more amicable approaches to divorce, such as mediation and so-called Collaborative Divorce, are gaining support in the realm of marital break-ups. Not everyone, however, is convinced that divorces would proceed more smoothly if we could all just get along.

In an article titled The Myth of the Amicable Divorce, clinical social worker Lauren Howard argued that couples who enter into divorce with smiles on their faces are trying to live a lie. They are, she claims, trying to hide their animosity and overcompensate for the failure of their relationship by being unnaturally nice. And she goes on to make some surprising assertions, such as:

  • Couples think amicable divorce is easier on their children but, in fact, it leaves them confused about why this is happening when their parents seem to get along so well.
  • A friendly divorce can be a sign that at least one of the parties is living in denial of the situation and clinging to hopes of reconciliation.
  • In a divorce situation, being best friends is no better than being arch enemies, because of the underlying dishonesty.

Whether you buy into Ms. Howard’s theory or not, you may want to consider how to approach your impending divorce. Some advisors suggest you actually write down a plan for the outcome you seek from your divorce and also how you intend to achieve it. An experienced divorce lawyer in the Tampa area can provide you with invaluable guidance in pursuing a divorce your way.

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