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How to collaborate when you have irreconcilable differences

On Behalf of | Jan 30, 2024 | Collaborative Divorce

In Tennessee, as in many other states, couples often cite irreconcilable differences as the reason for seeking a divorce. While the term might sound complex, it represents a straightforward concept: you and your spouse acknowledge that your disagreements are so profound and persistent that you can no longer maintain a healthy marriage. These are not the typical fights and disagreements that every couple faces; rather, they are deep-seated issues that resist resolution, despite your best efforts.

Irreconcilable differences are, in fact, the no-fault ground for divorce in Tennessee. But it can be challenging to collaborate when you cannot set aside your differences. Fortunately, there are strategies that can help you through the process.

Strategies to help you through a collaborative divorce

Collaboration during a divorce is not only possible but also beneficial, regardless of whatever differences you have. You can settle things privately with your former spouse and avoid making each other look bad in a courtroom. It begins with the willingness to discuss practical matters, like dividing assets or arranging custody, without revisiting the emotional aspects of your disagreements. You can focus on the tasks at hand, which are critical to reaching a fair and mutually beneficial divorce settlement. To promote a collaborative environment, consider these strategies:

  • Set clear boundaries: Establish what topics are open for discussion and which only reignite old arguments. By doing so, you can avoid pointless conflict and concentrate on making decisions that will impact your future.
  • Utilize neutral ground: Engaging in conversations in a neutral setting can help both parties feel more at ease and less defensive. Neutral territory encourages objectivity and can significantly affect how you communicate.
  • Prioritize respectful interaction: Maintaining a respectful tone and demeanor can prevent discussions from escalating into arguments. Even if you disagree, showing respect can keep the lines of communication open.
  • Emphasize empathy: Try to understand where the other person is coming from. Empathy can bridge gaps between differing viewpoints.

Irreconcilable differences need not spell the end of collaboration in the divorce process. You can take steps to ensure that your divorce proceedings are as smooth and constructive as possible.

Focusing on the future instead of the past

When irreconcilable differences are at the heart of your decision to divorce, collaboration might seem like a contradiction. How do you work together when the very essence of your conflict is an inability to agree? The key lies in shifting your perspective from solving these differences to managing them as you move forward.

You may share common goals, such as the well-being of your children or a fair financial settlement. Keep these goals at the forefront and look to the future instead of dwelling on the pain of the past.