Using Communication to Ease the Stress of a Divorce
Divorce is never an easy thing to go through and the stress and emotional trauma are only worsened when the communication between the couple is either nonexistent or hostile. Although having open communication during a divorce may seem like a contradiction, it is key in helping to reduce the stress and emotional hardship both individuals will ultimately suffer. Here are five tips for helping to keep lines of communication open between a couple while going through a divorce process.
How Good Communication During a Divorce Can Help
When talking about communication during a divorce, it does not just include communication efforts between the divorcing couple but also keeping the lines of communication open between attorneys, counselors, other family members, and friends. This means that you need to let your family, friends and your attorney know that you are trying to work out some type of amicable split and that you would appreciate it if your family and friends refrain from derailing such an effort. Good communication can help to:
- Reduce legal expenses overall
- Protect both parties reputations
- Keep the process moving forward and productive
- Conserving energy of both parties and their families
These are just a few of the many positive effects having good communication skills can have on your life as you transition through the divorce process. When children are involved in a divorce, communication is necessary to deal with continuing needs of the kids, transportation issues, school related functions, and extracurricular activities. Without working on your communication skills, the time spent dealing with your ex for your kids’ sake will be unbearable. Following our tips will help you navigate the divorce process with ease and keep you from blowing up at your soon-to-be ex-spouse.
How to Communicate Effectively
When in a high stress situation, we often do not think about what we are saying, how we are saying it, or how what is being said affects the people around us. Communication during a divorce requires staying calm and in control of yourself. In order to make sure communication stays clear and does not lead to arguments, it is important to be mindful of a few key communication items:
– Tone of Voice – What you say is just as important as how you say it. A person’s tone of voice can easily change a statement into an accusation or attack. Make sure you are being mindful of how you are saying things and your tone of voice and make adjustments as needed. According to a leading divorce study involving over one-thousand divorcing couples, one of the most common reasons for spouses to fight is a condescending tone of voice. Making sure that you are not belittling your spouse by using a tone of voice that you know will only set him or her off.
– Text and Email Communications – Communicating with your ex-partner or with your legal team through text messaging or email can be tricky. These types of messages are very much subject to the reader’s interpretation and can be misconstrued very easily. When using text messaging or email, make sure your message is crystal clear so it cannot be misunderstood.
Also remember that whatever you say in a text message or email can easily be printed out and brought to court so that a judge can see exactly what you said. Not only does this type of behavior upset your spouse and cause a breakdown=own in communication, it also makes you look immature in the eyes of the judge. And because you only have few minutes with the judge every month, any little thing, like a nasty email or text message, can make the judge begin to form a bias against you. Programs like Our Family Wizard can help you communicate via electronic means as well.
– Social Media – Using social media during a divorce is a slippery slope. There is nothing stopping the court from looking at what both of the people involved are posting online. During a divorce, avoid posting anything negative about the other party or consider shutting your social media pages down until the divorce is finalized and the case has been closed.
Social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, and others, allow people to get themselves in trouble for various reasons. Posting pictures of yourself with a new significant other, for example, will almost certainly make your ex become angry or jealous – and this in turn will cut off communication channels.
– Additional Communication – Many couples believe that the only communications the court cares about are the ones between the divorcing parties. It is important to keep in mind that the court will often look at all of the correspondence around the case including, letters and messages between attorneys and any notifications they receive from the court. The court may also look at communications between the parties and the families of the parties. Sending rude messages or starting fights with your spouse’s family can only hurt your case, not help it.
– Be Careful Who You Involve – During a divorce case, the court wants to obtain any and all information available. This means the attorneys and/or judge will want to speak with anyone who has even the least bit of information, including family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc.
Because of this, it is important to be careful with whom you share information. Your spouse’s attorney can subpoena family members, friends, and even co-workers for depositions and as witnesses in court. If one of them knows a deep, dark secret because you couldn’t keep your mouth shut, be ready for that bomb to drop in front of the judge and watch your attorney slowly shake his head in disbelief. Venting is one thing, but running your mouth to anyone that is around is not advisable and will only blow up in your face and destroy the potential for good communication during a divorce.
Now that you know how to effectively communicate, do yourself a favor and speak with an expert right now!