How to Reach an Amicable Agreement with Your Former Partner
As a marriage or de facto relationship progresses through the years, the lives of two people are often significantly intertwined with one another. When separation comes around the corner, it is often difficult to suddenly form quick and effective solutions to break those ties. This is especially so when a long term couple had shared finances, joint assets and raised children together.
An amicable separation is mainly about trying to reduce the conflict between you and your former partner and preserving a positive relationship, especially if you intend to co-parent. Amicable separations are attainable, with the Australian Institute of Family Studies reporting in 2016 that 70 percent of couples are able to separate harmoniously, work out parenting and property matters out for themselves and maintain a good relationship with the other parent and their children post separation.
We recommend these tips to minimise the negative impact of a separation:
1. Be empathetic.
Understand that separations will affect everyone, particularly your former partner and your children (if any). For example, understanding the burden of the rapid changes to the family dynamic in that one partner suddenly has the burden of full-time care of the children could alleviate some of the resentment that partner may have built up. Conversely, understanding the emptiness the other partner, who only has little time with the children, is experiencing when they are left with only occasional visits with the children. This might include facilitating calls with them which could alleviate the loneliness they feel in not seeing the children.
2. Aim for mutual agreement
When negotiating your living arrangements, care of the children and property division, the end goal should be focused upon is the happiness of you, your former partner and your children’s happiness. However, we understand that it may not always be possible for both parties to be entirely content with the solutions. Whether it is because you and your former partner could not agree on splitting the finances or the care of the children, it is completely normal that legal assistance is needed at times to resolve a part of your issues.
3. When discussions become fraught, write to your former partner
It is unreasonable for anyone to assume that all aspects of separation can be resolved cordially. Arguments are sometimes inevitable and in those difficult times, we suggest writing an email, letter or note to your former partner to express your thoughts in an honest manner. However, remember to explain your position in a compassionate way and at times, a compromise may be for the best of both you and your partner and the children.
Enlisting Legal Advice
We understand that not all problems can be resolved privately, and we are here to find the best options for you and your family. A majority of matters do not proceed to Court and alternative dispute resolution is a popular way to reach an agreement without litigation, allowing you to still make your own decisions and retain control of the outcome. Below are two of the many different alternative dispute resolution types which can help you and your former partner reach an amicable agreement.
1. Mediation: This is where an independent third party called a mediator becomes involved to help you and your former partner negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement.
2. Collaboration: This is where legal representatives are involved to assist you and your former partner to explore and understand each other’s respective interests, concerns, goals and fears and to amicably come to an out of Court agreement.