Advice for divorcing couples: you can be nice, but stay rational

It is common advice for divorcing couples to try their best to remain amicable throughout their divorces since the generated goodwill can lend itself to many positive benefits. However, it is also important for those considering divorce not to be nice to the point of avoiding hard choices or realizations that could spell problems for the future if not properly settled.

When making decisions regarding alimony, child custody and support, hard decisions are inevitable. According to experts in the field, sometimes couples are too focused on not upsetting their ex to make the right decisions about the details of a divorce which are genuinely important.

For instance, in the turmoil of a divorce, an issue like taxes might be the last thing on a person’s mind, but a divorce can significantly alter both spouses’ tax returns. A couple who previously filed a joint return may now file two separate returns, and the parties must face the financial issue of which spouse will get to claim their children as dependents for tax purposes.

As another example, some people will avoid upsetting their exes to the point of not expressing their concerns and questions as clearly as they should. This attempt to have an amicable divorce could lead to one where important conversations are glossed over. In this case, good intentions can end up having bad results for one individual in the divorce, or even both spouses, where critical details are missed that result in further problems later.

The advice from experts is to try and get the best of both worlds: try to maintain an amicable relationship and still discuss what is important, such as how to best handle custody of children and financial matters.

Source: Reuters, “Divorce mistakes you can make by being too nice,” Geoff Williams, June 26, 2012