By Divorce.com staff
Updated Nov 16, 2022
If you’ve seen someone you love go through a divorce, you’ve probably realized that you never want to endure the stress and heartbreak of the divorce process. Even a normal breakup can be a messy and emotionally taxing event. A divorce is significantly more intense, especially if you have children.
Thankfully, divorce doesn’t have to be a war. You can peacefully end your marriage and move through the process with a minimal amount of stress. If your spouse shares your mentality, it will be easy to simplify your divorce and move forward on good terms.
The Importance of Leaving a Marriage Peacefully
It’s not always possible to leave a marriage peacefully. If you’re getting divorced, you likely aren’t doing so because you have an excellent bond with your spouse, and there’s bound to be some emotional unrest in the situation. You may be angry with each other. You may be hurt. This is all perfectly normal.
If you take some time to cool off and consider each other’s feelings before you get divorced, you might be thankful that you did. Divorces in family court can cost tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, and it's not uncommon for court divorces to take over a year to complete.
At the end of the long and expensive process, no one is happy to have endured that level of financial and logistical stress. You may spend the next few years dealing with the financial consequences of the divorce process — and that’s not to mention the emotional toll.
If you choose to end your marriage peacefully, you’re saving yourselves a lot of grief. You’ll be able to build independent futures and a better structure for your children much sooner, and you’ll be able to use the money you saved for a much better purpose.
How to Leave a Marriage Peacefully
If you and your spouse both feel ready to end your marriage, you’ll need to have some difficult conversations. You should approach the process with a mindset of keeping the situation peaceful. If you enter it with the right intentions and remain mindful of what you’re attempting to do, it’s easier to keep the process as peaceful as possible.
1. Don’t Move Too Quickly
If you’ve never discussed divorce with your spouse before, don’t suddenly serve them with divorce papers. This can be a shocking experience for your spouse, and it’s hard to proceed peacefully when someone feels blindsided.
Make sure you’ve had enough thorough conversations about the possibility of ending your marriage before you attempt to begin divorce proceedings.
2. Meditate on Your Thoughts Before You Speak
A peaceful divorce requires you to be considerate of your spouse’s feelings throughout the entire process. You need to show in your actions that you value their well-being as much as you value your own. Speak about independent happiness for both of you and that neither of you should experience undue stress.
Think before you speak, use inclusive language, and keep in mind that your divorce is the last major experience you and your partner will share exclusively between yourselves. You don’t need to work around their feelings or meet their needs forever. You’ll only need to remain civil, considerate, and focus on co-parenting if you share children and for the sake of general politeness.
3. Be Mindful of How You Speak About Each Other
If you have children or mutual friends, the worst thing you can do is to speak ill about your partner in front of them. When you put people in a position where they feel they’re being asked to choose sides, you’re essentially asking them to join an army. You only need an army if you intend to go to war. Your friends don’t want to take sides, and neither do your children.
If you express genuine care and concern about handling the situation with peace, dignity, and grace, the people you share in common will become a support system. They can be there for both of you, and you won’t experience a loss of friendships or relationships during a time when you’re already handling one of the biggest losses of a relationship that you’ll ever experience.
It’s especially important to be mindful of the way you speak about your partner and your divorce in front of your children. If you speak ill of your child’s parent in front of them, you’re damaging their relationship with that parent and causing more conflict for your children.
Children can feel deeply, and they may ask inappropriate questions. They may feel the need to choose sides. When this begins to happen, it’s difficult to control.
Conduct all discussions with your spouse (or discussions about your house) in a place where your children won’t be present. You do need to tell your children what’s going on, and it’s best to do that with your spouse present. It helps children to see their parents sitting together and communicating in a civil way. It will be easier for them to adjust to the idea of their parents getting divorced if they’re able to see their parents as amicable with each other.
4. Pursue Family Counseling
When you’ve set out to create a peaceful atmosphere, it’s important to maintain peaceful communication. If you have the option to pursue family counseling, it’s better to do it sooner rather than later. As feelings or issues arise, your family will be able to discuss them in a safe and structured environment.
A counselor can help everyone in the family learn to express their feelings in a productive way. They can also help with coping strategies for difficult situations and assist parents in planning effective co-parenting strategies. The best time to have a concrete strategy is before you need one.
5. Choose a Peaceful Way to Divorce
If all is well that ends well, you need to choose the correct way to end your marriage. There’s nothing peaceful about a divorce that transpires in front of a bunch of people and becomes part of the court record. Involving lawyers in the process, especially if it isn’t absolutely necessary, adds an argumentative element to the situation.
You and your spouse can choose to divorce with little to no professional intervention. You have two options for a discreet divorce. They’re both relatively quick and inexpensive, and they give you an opportunity to communicate through important issues.
Filing for Uncontested Divorce On Your Own
If you and your spouse are able to communicate and agree, you can file for an uncontested divorce on your own. An uncontested divorce is used when both partners are able to reach an understanding of how they’d like to conclude their marriage. You can fill out the paperwork yourself online, and it takes less than an hour.
After you complete the paperwork, you can file it online with your local courthouse if they allow online submissions. If not, you can print it and hand deliver it. You’ll wait for a court date where your judge will review your divorce agreement and ask you a few questions. If everything looks good, you’ll be granted a divorce.
The whole process can be finished in weeks. There’s no need to argue or hire lawyers. It’s inexpensive compared to other methods of divorce, and it’s the least complicated path you can take.
Using Divorce Mediation Services
If you and your spouse need a little extra help finding compromises you’re both satisfied with, you can use a divorce mediator. A divorce mediator isn’t like a lawyer or a judge. They’re an impartial third party who will listen to both parties, assess your level of disagreement, and propose solutions you can both live with.
You and your spouse have the final say. The mediator can’t force anyone to provide paperwork or make decisions on your behalf. It’s all still up to you, and you’re empowered to end your marriage the way you see fit.
At the end of the mediation process, when everyone agrees, the mediator will help you prepare your uncontested divorce paperwork to submit to the court. The process, from that point, is essentially the same as filing for an uncontested divorce.
If You Leave Peacefully, Keep Things Peaceful
If you and your spouse don’t share children or have a lot of mutual friends, there’s a good chance you’ll never be required to talk to each other ever again. If you prefer to respect each other from a distance, that’s perfectly okay.
If your life circumstances make it necessary for you to communicate (like co-parenting), you’ll need to maintain the peace you’ve worked to create. Keep using effective communication strategies, and be respectful of each other’s space.