How to get a velvet divorce like the Czechs

Back in 1993, the Republic of Czechoslovakia divorced itself and split into Czech Republic and Slovakia – two separate countries. This, like the Velvet Revolution, was dubbed the Velvet divorce because the transition from communism to democracy and from one country to two countries was one of the most peaceful transitions the world had ever seen in the post-Hitler era.
One of the mainstays of the Velvet revolution was the peaceful anti-violence demonstrations and the negotiations that took place to see the transition take effect.
Here in the West, divorce can be a contact sport that often ends in violence or even death of not only one or both parties to divorce but others as well, such as their children, in-laws, and even their attorneys.
So I thought that maybe people need to study the Velvet divorce in Czechoslovakia as one of the ways they can reduce the friction and anger and violence that often comes with divorce.
The key first of all is wanting peace. If both sides truly commit to separate peacefully, then it can be accomplished. Beyond that, it is critical to come to the table ready and willing to negotiate in a reasonable manner. The marital assets will be and should be shared and while disagreements are a part of any negotiation, ultimately if parties want to make a deal, they can and they will. The key is to be reasonable at all times.
The agreement that the parties strike in a divorce should and must be honored in a velvet divorce. You can’t agree to something and then turn around and decide that you shouldn’t have to comply with it. Of course, that is going to presume that when you sat down at the negotiating table, that you had all the facts. If one party has withheld facts from the other, obviously the negotiations are not fair and so it can be expected that post-agreement, there could be huge problems. In which case a “velvet divorce” will be all but impossible.
Chances are you probably have children and so you will have to make determinations such as whether to change the child’s last name after the divorce, who will have custody of the child and even, what religion the child will be affiliated with post-divorce. Again, the key to a peaceful transition is reasonableness. My suspicion is that something like changing the child’s last name and his or her religion are landmine issues and it will take a very skillful couple to circumnavigate this. I would think too, that in most circumstances, the child’s name should remain the same as it was pre-divorce, if a peaceful transition is what is sought.
Which jurisdiction will control your divorce? Well, you may not have a choice with this one. Even if one or both of you move, the place where you were domiciled at the time you divorced will probably always control.
Here’s to more peaceful, velvet, divorces!
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