What is an Amicable Divorce?

In a divorce it means “without serious disagreement.” The book definition of amicable is “having a spirit of friendliness, without serious disagreement or rancor.” The spirit of friendliness, not necessarily friends.  An amicable divorce means a civil divorce, where both spouses agree to property division, spousal and child support, visitation and custody.  It may not mean that the former spouses are friends when it’s over.  It does mean the spouses don’t fight and enter an agreement reasonably, without litigation.  An amicable divorce almost always means an uncontested divorce.

The Consent Decree

Negotiating an amicable divorce requires an attorney with professional skills.  A misstep, or attorney that mistakes aggression for professionalism can cause a war.  Add to that a spouse’s  desire for revenge, and you have a recipe for bad decisions that cause a long, expensive, and drawn out divorce.  Separating your emotions, and reasoning out a solution will lead to a fair and timely settlement.

Amicable Doesn’t Mean Painless

All divorces cause pain, and an amicable divorce is not painless, but it is civil. An amicable divorce involves negotiating instead of litigating. But there is an upside; fewer court visits, less trauma on the children, reduced legal costs and a quicker resolution.

Amicable Might Still Require Mediation in Arizona

Mediation is required by most Arizona Family courts especially if there are minor children involved. A mediator is a neutral third party, that will help the parties come to an agreement on contested issues.


In collaborative divorce, both spouses retain lawyers, but the lawyers for both work as negotiators, and negotiation is handled outside of court. In a non-amicable divorce that goes to court, the judge makes the decisions for the parties. Most courts try to get the spouses to agree before litigation is necessary, and can tell when one or both spouses aren’t being reasonable. Collaborating, and agreeing without litigation is better for the court, it’s better for the children, it’s better for everybody. This requires cooperation and communication. Documents are exchanged without lawyers fighting for documents in the legal process known as discovery, which is where you discover that you don’t have enough money to fight it out like this for long. If there are differences, you focus on a compromise. A compromise is where neither party gets what they want, but both can live with the deal. Spouses who can accept this can negotiate an amicable divorce.

Why are lawyers needed in an amicable divorce?

Lawyers are required to maintain the case timeline and engage in the discovery process. More importantly, lawyers know the law and how “fair and equitable” is defined.

Choosing your Lawyer

One way to turn your divorce into a warzone is to hire an unprofessional, attack dog attorney who nitpicks details and dances around the law.  Judges have a list of these types that they have to babysit in court, and are NOT happy to see them.  A good lawyer will approach your case with all facts and considerations and proceed in your best interests.

In any divorce a knowledgeable attorney who has your best interests in mind is priceless. If you want an attorney that can advocate for you, and be professional, call Enholm Law at (602) 889-6273.