Communication is important to every negotiation process and the process of divorce is no exception. Perhaps you wonder, should you talk to your spouse during divorce? Communication can make the divorce process faster, more economical and less painful. But your spouse could use everything you say against you in court. When communication is necessary, when and how should you talk to your spouse during divorce?
Consult a Family Lawyer.
When the marriage is over, both should consult a divorce lawyer before any agreements are made with their spouse. Even agreement to minor changes, like deciding one more day a child stays with the other spouse, can have large consequences. For instance, that one extra night could change child support. Speak to your attorney about mediation as well as the divorce process and whether you should talk to your spouse during divorce. Making sound decisions is more likely with advice from an experienced family lawyer like those at Hittelman Family Law Group.
How Should You Talk to Your Spouse During Divorce?
It is important to keep conversations positive, cordial and focused on critical issues. Because feelings run high, it can be tough to keep those conversations productive. Many couples have found the presences of a third party keeps both parties calmer. It is one reason mediation has a great track record as an approach to divorce negotiations. But a mediator cannot be there for every conversation that might occur.
Should you talk to your spouse during divorce, remember, it isn’t the time to review every marital problem. That time was when both spouses were trying to work out the marriage. Once the marriage is over, there is no productive reason to rehash either spouse’s marital faults. Keeping that in mind, here are some tips to communication with estranged spouses during the divorce process.
Establish Fair Communication boundaries.
During a marriage, spouses might call, text, or message their spouse, for even the most trivial topics at any hour. Once you separate, that behavior is off the table. Establish with your spouse when it is proper to call or text them in a non-emergency situation. Clarify when it’s okay to receive calls or text messages, and on what topics. Angry calls at the office are distracting, and could jeopardize employment, so setting boundaries is essential.
Keep your Tone Civil When Communicating During Your Divorce.
Over half of all communication is conveyed by body language and tone of voice. Even if you keep your words reasonable, your tone can tell a different story. Yet you will need to communicate with your spouse to decide custody, parent visitation time, support, and other issues. Doing so with a civil tone in your voice will go a long way to improving the process.
Keep Your Focus.
One of the ways to keep your conversation and tone civil is to focus on your goal. For instance, by keeping your focus on division of assets, you are less likely to be sidetracked. Less likely to wonder, “Why wasn’t my call returned last night?” If you can’t keep the focus on the divorce issues, it is time to end the conversation…CIVILLY.
Avoid Making Assumptions.
Remember when you used to finish each other’s sentences? When spouses separate, they often still think they understand each other, but the situation has changed. Discard all assumptions about what the other spouse means. Instead, ask the other spouse to clarify ambiguous statements. For instance, if your spouse agrees to pick up a son from soccer practice, don’t assume they mean at 5pm. You can get clarification by asking, “What time will you arrive and where should our son meet you?” By asking the question, you just reduced potential mix-ups and the tension that goes with them.
Only Say What You Want Attorneys and The Judge to Hear.
Remember that ANYTHING you say might be used against you in court. Treat every conversation with your spouse as if it is being recorded. Name calling, insults and screaming are not just unproductive; each could have a negative impact on your case. An angry voicemail message left about your spouse not picking up your son reveals your lack of civility and control. Stay civil and stay on point with short, concise conversations. For some, having conversations by phone is cooler. That’s because in-person communications are more volatile unless there is a mediator involved.
This article is not intended to be construed as legal advice. It is for informational purposes only, offering insights and awareness into the complex nature of family law. Should you talk to your spouse during divorce could be best answered through a consultation with a licensed attorney. Speaking with an experienced Hittelman family law attorney is an advisable way to make sure your rights are safeguarded.