Talking with your spouse during divorce can be difficult. Maybe a lack of good communication was a contributing factor in your breakup. Now you may feel angry, hurt and overwhelmed. It’s a stressful time to say the least. In many cases, particularly those involving young children, you could be in contact with your soon-to-be ex for many years to come. You can make things easier for yourself both now and in the future by utilizing these 7 tips for effective communication.
First and foremost, if you are under a no-contact order, a protective order or if there is any history of domestic violence, then communicating directly with your spouse must be avoided. Violation of these orders by either party could have very serious consequences. Please follow the advice of your attorney under such circumstances.
In less contentious situations, however, using your attorney to handle every communication will result in unnecessarily high attorney fees. Whenever possible, communicating directly and civilly with your spouse will benefit all involved. Your attorney saves time, which means you save money. Even if your ex is difficult or uncooperative, your efforts will demonstrate a desire and ability to behave appropriately.
You can lessen the impact on your children, your reputation and in your life going forward by following these 7 tips for effective communication.
- Keep it civil. While your feelings may be justified, firing off that satisfying comment or scathing retort can have lasting negative consequences. Remember, the moment you hit send or unleash a torrent of angry words on a phone call, you lose control of who sees or hears your message. What you believed was a private message could end up on social media, shared with friends, family, other attorneys and even the judge. It’s critical to speak and behave as if every word and deed will be read aloud and/ or described in court.
- Keep it relevant. If your child has a soccer game, limit the conversation to that. This is neither the time nor place for a long, detailed narrative of your history or a confrontation regarding other concerns in your case. You can save time and considerable anguish by allowing your attorney to address the more complex issues while you manage day-to-day communications.
- Set limits. Excessive calls and texts can be viewed as harassment. Once your message is sent, don’t “nag”.Think about whether a message or response is truly necessary or if it’s simply creating unneeded drama.
- Keep it clear. Text messages and emails can easily be misinterpreted. Say what you mean clearly and without sarcasm. Avoid making accusatory statements, plays for control, or remarks which could be interpreted as threats or intimidation out of context. Even if you’re joking, the judge may not share your humor.
- Be direct. Your attorney is sometimes a necessary messenger regarding complicated issues. Using your children to relay messages should always be avoided. Handling communication yourself, when possible, or through a neutral third party is often the simplest choice.
- Stay calm. If you’re upset, take some time to cool off before addressing the reason. If a discussion becomes heated, remember having the last word isn’t worth the potential cost to your case or to your peace of mind.
- Continue to practice good communication habits even after your divorce is final. Doing otherwise can cost you in the form of more legal action. Modification of orders is quite common. The best way to protect yourself from post-divorce costs is to continue clear, direct and civil communication.
Get a Utah Divorce Attorney
Communicating with your spouse during and after divorce can prove costly. You can help your family law attorney use resources more efficiently with the practices described above. A competent family law attorney can give you more case-specific advice. At CoilLaw, LLC, Salt Lake City Divorce attorney Jill Coil understands how to advise you during a divorce to help you achieve the best settlement and/or result possible.