During a divorce, it is important that the spouses work together, especially when children are involved. However, for people suffering from the sting of a recent breakup, this is easier said than done.
When communicating with your ex during a divorce, you need to set certain boundaries and rules. Most importantly, spouses need to remember to keep children out of divorce discussions rather than using them as go-betweens. If you are preparing for a divorce, remember these tips to help you communicate with your soon-to-be former spouse.
1. Choose Your Means of Communication Wisely
In today’s world, people can communicate in a hundred different ways. From email to text messages, social media posts to the U.S. Mail, a couple has multiple options to get their point across. All of these ways of communications have their pros and cons depending on your reason for communicating with your ex.
For example, while calling on the phone is the best way to reach your ex in case of an emergency with your children, there is no record of phone conversations. If the call is not an emergency and is instead a conversation about the divorce, your spouse could agree to certain terms but change his or her mind later. In contrast, an email or a text message would document that your spouse agreed to do something (or not to do something) as part of the divorce.
Additionally, some couples with a volatile relationship may have difficulty speaking on the phone or face to face. These couples may be able to use email, text message, or the postal service to communicate. Speed is a consideration here, however. Some people do not want the immediate response that a text message or email can invite, and others need a response faster than the mail can provide. Choosing the best form of communication for your needs is an important factor in any conversation with your ex-spouse.
2. Take a Deep Breath
Remember that you do not have to respond immediately to anything your former spouse says (barring cases of emergency). Many people respond too quickly to their former spouse, especially when the message they received was hostile or accusatory. This can quickly spiral into a long, drawn out fight that accomplishes nothing but stressing out both partners. Take your time before responding—wait until your emotions cool down before sending your response, and determine if you need to respond at all. Try to spend a few hours away from your anger, or talk the situation over with a friend or your attorney before sending something that you will regret later.
3. Focus on the Issues
When speaking with your spouse, remember that you do not need to resolve every problem that exists between the two of you. Keep your conversation focused on the issue at hand—like visits with the kids–and do not bring up every issue. In other words, if you need to know whether your spouse can pick the children up from school, stick to that subject and don’t get dragged into the same old fights.
4. Use Your Attorney
When a couple cannot communicate on their own, or when an issue is too contentious to be resolved peacefully, attorneys for each spouse can act as the go-between and mediate a resolution. At Pacific Northwest Family Law, we have a pretty thick skins and are used to talking to people under the emotional stress of ending a relationship. We use collaboration, negotiation, and mediation help spouses communicate during the divorce process and reach agreements they can both live with. Using these services, you can work out a divorce decree or parenting plan which fits everyone’s needs without the unnecessary costs of fighting in court.
For help with your situation, contact us today by calling 509-572-3700.