Sometimes a husband or wife is caught off guard by their partner’s decision to end the marriage. A “surprise divorce” has the potential to stir up a lot of animosity. At other times, both partners have been sensing and dreading the decision to part ways for months, perhaps years. In these situations, resentments built up over time can make it difficult for each spouse to view the other favorably, or even objectively. Fortunately, however, many couples can and do find their way toward an amicable divorce. Working with an experienced Georgia family law and divorce attorney with the Millard Law Firm can make it easier to establish the conditions needed for an amicable divorce and smooth both partners’ pathways to a peaceful resolution. Call (678) 319-9500 today to schedule a free initial consultation to review your situation.
How Common Are Amicable Divorces?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the marriage rate in 2019 was 6.1 per 1,000 among the U.S. population. The divorce rate for that same year was 2.7 per 1,000. That means more couples are staying married than getting a divorce. There have been plenty of television dramas that put divorcing couples in heated battles that lead to all kinds of unfortunate conclusions. In the real world, many couples would prefer to find a way to dissolve their marriage while treating each other with respect and civility.
An amicable divorce does not automatically mean that the separating spouses agree on everything. Instead, it signifies that both partners want to address their disputes collaboratively. They may take this independently, working directly with each other, or they may seek the guidance of legal professionals such as attorneys, mediators, therapists, or other experts. A cooperative approach can enable couples to reach an amicable divorce agreement agreeable to both parties, without having to rely on the Georgia Superior Courts to ultimately set the terms of their separation.
How Do You Split Assets Amicably?
Asset division is often one of the most complex and emotionally charged aspects of divorce. In an amicable divorce, couples can reach a fair division of assets by applying the following tips to their negotiation process:
Both spouses should provide complete and honest information about their financial assets, liabilities, income, and expenses. Transparency is crucial for building trust and ensuring that there will be an equitable distribution in an amicable divorce. Spouses’ mutual disclosures should include a complete list of all marital assets, including any real estate holdings, financial investments, retirement accounts, and each partner’s personal property.
Assess Financial Needs
Couples must work together to determine each person’s financial needs and goals after the divorce. Understanding these needs can help create a fair financial plan for both sides. Being realistic about lifestyle needs is essential to making these assessments effectively.
Identify what assets are most important to each party. When the individual spouses clearly understand their own priorities and communicate those interests to their soon-to-be ex, both parties are better empowered to negotiate, and it becomes easier to reach agreements that will be satisfactory to both sides. This step works best when both parties have taken seriously the need for full disclosure, as transparency will make the needs communicated here easier to appreciate.
Consider Tax Implications
Consulting with financial advisors or tax professionals to understand the tax consequences of different asset distribution scenarios can help divorcing spouses to make informed decisions that minimize their individual tax liabilities. Again, it can be beneficial to remain open about individual concerns and interests. There is no need to keep any financial information a secret.
Seek Legal Advice
Even in amicable divorces, the parties may benefit from consulting with separate family law attorneys. Retaining the Millard Law Firm secures the advice of a dedicated attorney who can review agreements and ensure they align with your legal rights and obligations.
Draft a Comprehensive Agreement
Once the spouses have reached an agreement on asset division, they will need to draft, or have an attorney draft, a detailed settlement agreement that includes all relevant terms and conditions. This legal document will serve as the blueprint for asset distribution. Both parties should thoroughly review the settlement agreement before signing it to be sure that it accurately reflects their intentions and that they are comfortable with the terms.
What Is Silent Divorce?
Silent divorce is a concept that has gained attention in recent years. The term refers to couples who continue to live under the same roof, but essentially leading separate lives both emotionally and often physically. A silent divorce arrangement may arise when a couple wants to avoid the financial and logistical challenges of divorce, such as selling a family home or dividing assets, while acknowledging that their romantic relationship has ended.
Characteristics of Silent Divorce
What does a silent divorce look like? This kind of divorce often involves some of the following characteristics:
- Separate Bedrooms – In a silent divorce, couples often sleep in separate bedrooms or even live on different floors of their home.
- Lack of Emotional Connection – Partners in a silent divorce typically no longer share emotional intimacy or engage in activities together as a couple.
- Independent Lives – Each person may pursue their own interests, social circles, and even relationships outside the marriage.
- Shared Responsibilities – Despite emotional detachment, some couples in a silent divorce choose to continue sharing household and parenting responsibilities.
Why Pursue a Silent Divorce?
The primary function of a silent divorce is to offer a temporary way to navigate a challenging period, especially when children are in the picture. For most couples, a silent divorce is not a long-term solution, but rather a temporary measure that can facilitate a more permanent resolution in some circumstances. For a silent divorce to be effective, both spouses must agree to their relationship’s new terms.
Is It Better To Separate or Divorce?
Deciding between separation and divorce is a deeply personal choice influenced by various factors. Those factors include the couple’s living circumstances, finances, and long-term goals. Here are some pros and cons of separation versus divorce to help spouse make an informed decision.
Pros of Separation
- Time for Reflection – Separation can provide couples time to reflect on their relationship and decide whether reconciliation or divorce is the best path.
- Financial Benefits – Separation can offer financial advantages, such as maintaining certain tax benefits or health insurance coverage.
- Less Immediate Stress – The process of separation may be less emotionally taxing than divorce, especially if children are involved.
Cons of Separation
- Uncertainty – Separation often leaves couples in limbo, unsure of their future together or apart.
- Complex Arrangements – Separate living arrangements, child custody, and financial agreements can become increasingly complicated the longer a separation goes on.
- Lack of Closure – For some, separation may provide a false sense of hope or prolong the inevitable decision to divorce.
Pros of Divorce
- Legal Clarity – Divorce provides legal finality, clearly defining each party’s rights and responsibilities.
- Asset Division – The legal procedures of divorce are designed precisely to facilitate the division of marital assets and financial obligations.
- Emotional Closure – For many, divorce represents a fresh start and emotional closure, allowing individuals to move forward with their lives.
Cons of Divorce
- Complex Process – Divorce involves legal proceedings, which can be time-consuming, emotionally draining, and costly.
- Impact on Children – The effects of divorce on children can be profound, potentially leading to custody disputes and emotional challenges.
- Financial Implications – Divorce may result in significant financial changes, including the division of assets and establishing alimony or child support payments, that impact both parties.
Ultimately, the decision to separate or divorce depends on each couple’s unique circumstances and priorities. Seeking guidance from a family counselor or therapist, in addition to an experienced family law attorney familiar with state divorce requirements, can be invaluable in helping couples to make this decision and in navigating the associated challenges.
Prepare for Amicable Divorce With Help From an Experienced Georgia Family Law Attorney
Pursuing an amicable divorce may offer divorcing spouses a smoother, less emotionally taxing, and more respectful way to transition out of their marriage. The Millard Law Firm stands ready to facilitate an amicable divorce. They have helped couples in all types of financial and family situations find a friendly way to dissolve a marriage that allows both sides to move on. Call (678) 319-9500 to discuss your options for an amicable divorce.