The moment that you announce that you’re getting a divorce, it starts: Everybody you know seems to have a “divorce horror story” to tell. It’s important to remember that their stories are not your story. Every situation is unique, so don’t let others’ stories scare you.

Is it really possible, however, to have a “good” divorce? Consider this:

  • The vast majority (99%) of divorces settle before they reach litigation. That doesn’t mean the road to your divorce will be free of every bump, but you can reasonably expect to avoid a drawn-out courtroom battle.
  • You do have some control over the situation. Everything you do can influence the divorce process — for good or ill. If you’re respectful to your spouse and willing to be flexible, you’ll probably find your spouse more agreeable, as well.
  • Communication, a sense of goodwill toward your spouse and a willingness to play fair with the financial aspects of the divorce can all contribute to a positive outcome.
  • Separating the business of divorce from the emotions associated with your failed marriage can help you gain perspective and find closure. It can help your spouse do the same.
  • If you have children, prioritizing their needs can help you and your spouse forge a new partnership that isn’t about your relationship to each other. That can make it easier to make decisions that will benefit you all.

It’s wise to prepare yourself for the possibility that your divorce could take an ugly, unpleasant turn — but you don’t have to live in fear. The majority of couples can manage to work out their disagreements and come to terms with their split without going to war. An experienced attorney may be able to help guide you down the right path.