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Breaking good: Nine tips to get divorced 'on good terms'

A psychologist has come up with nine tips that he claims can help achieve an 'amicable divorce.'

sex and relationships Updated: Sep 30, 2014 20:11 IST
A-representational-photo-Shutterstock
A-representational-photo-Shutterstock

A psychologist has come up with nine tips that he claims can help achieve an 'amicable divorce.'

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People don't have to put on boxing gloves when ending their marriage, he says: when it became a fight, the only winners were the lawyers, and the losers were the couple.

Michael Hakimi, who practices at Loyola University Health System and still remains good friends with his wife after their 20-year marriage ended in divorce, and said that it was important to have a harmonious divorce.

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Hakimi recommends nine tips for trying to achieve an amicable divorce, based on his personal experience and 35 years of experience in the field of mental health.

1 Make every effort to speak in a calm, clear and rational manner, and accept responsibility for your own actions.

2 Avoid blaming each other, pointing fingers and digging up all the issues of each other's history together.

3 When having a difficult discussion, do it in a place such as a restaurant or cafe. Spouses tend to act more appropriately in public. And do not consume alcohol while discussing marital issues.

4 Do not use your hurt feelings as a weapon to lash out at one another. Rather, try to resolve hurt feelings in therapy constructively.

5 Do not bad mouth each other or discuss marital problems in front of the children. Tell the children they are loved by both parents, and that they were blameless for the divorce. Get therapy for the children, if needed.

6 No matter how emotionally your spouse reacts, you do not have to react the same way. You have the power to control your own behavior and emotions. If you can stay calm, this could have a calming effect on your spouse.

7 If your spouse gets upset about something you say or do, try to apologize, and propose to continue the conversation at a later time.

8 Ask around for the right marriage therapist, as they can help achieve an amicable divorce. An experienced therapist with a master's degree also proves a good choice, provided the therapist was a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) or a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW).

9 If you can't agree on child support, dividing property and assets, taxes, etc., hire a divorce mediator to help you negotiate an agreement. Look up the mediator's qualifications and online reviews. Pick one you both feel comfortable with.