It may sound like a contradiction in terms, but the end of a relationship can occur in a loving manner. As a family law practitioner, I have seen hundreds of cases over my career, and couples who can focus on care and love often end up with the best outcome, particularly when children are involved. It’s not always appropriate to take this approach; if there is abuse, the victim should not put any more energy toward their ex. However, when a couple is contemplating divorce, and the situation makes it possible, they should try to keep love in the equation.
Why Does Love Help a Divorce?
When two people split up, they have to divide their lives, which have been intertwined for their entire marriage. This applies to assets, child custody, and financial responsibilities. When hurt and anger lead the analysis, couple’s often take opposing views about these issues, and they end up in a trial in front of a judge who gets to make the ultimate decisions about deeply personal matters. As good as the judge is, there’s always a chance of an unfair result. Furthermore, the expense of the lawyers and other experts can eat into the couple’s resources, leaving a lot less to divide in the end. If both sides take a less antagonistic stance, they can likely come to an outcome they both can live with at far less cost.
How Can a Divorce Occur Lovingly?
Maryland is a no-fault divorce state, meaning the parties can meet the criteria to obtain a divorce without having to prove something negative like abuse. If a couple wants to minimize the pain and conflict that can be a part of a divorce trial, they can opt for alternatives that help minimize the acrimony. Mediation and collaborative divorce are two ways that parties can work together with family law experts to help make the divorce occur on terms that they both agree are fair.
A married couple is in a position to know each other’s likes and dislikes and their strengths and weaknesses. They can use this knowledge to ease the negotiations. For example, if a spouse knows that their ex values the family home, they can agree to cede that ownership as a kindness that will make it easier for the other spouse to offer a similar concession. Or if a particular holiday has special meaning, they can agree that the spouse can have custody of the children on that day. It’s not always easy at the end of the relationship to take care of the other person, but doing so reduces stress, anger, and escalation of disputes.
Love Leads to Better Outcomes
Heightened conflict during and after divorce does not lead to happiness in the short term and can also have long-term consequences. Scientific American surveyed the studies and literature about the effect of divorce on children. It noted that children whose parents shield them from conflict during the divorce and collaborate in parenting afterward are less likely to suffer from depression and other challenges as they grow up. A less bitter divorce allows both parties to move on with less trauma and a more substantial basis to build a happy post-marital life.