Communication between yourself and your ex-partner during a divorce can be very difficult.
There are no hard and fast rules.
However, there are steps that you can take to make the whole experience a little easier.
As solicitors in Exeter and Plymouth we know some of the simplest ways to make it that little bit easier for all involved:
- Find the right time and place or method of communicating.
Sometimes it is inconvenient to talk when something has come up, in which case it would be much better to agree a later time when both of you can talk matters through privately.
- Discuss issues as quickly as possible after they have come up.
It is far better to air any problems straight away than let them fester and grow. If there is a problem, then deal with it at the first available opportunity.
- Be factual.
If either of you have received a report from someone else, whether the children or other people, simply tell your ex partner exactly what you have heard and from whom. This will enable him/her to either put your mind at rest immediately, or enable them to make enquiries of their own before responding.
- Don’t attack the other.
It is really important that you see each other as working together for the best interest of your children. Anyone who feels under criticism will naturally respond defensively. Your children need the two of you to be able to sort tings out.
- Be honest, polite and respectful to the other.
This is the flip side of the above. It is not just a question of what to avoid, it is a positive way you can speak with each other both in tone and the words used.
- Don’t assume the worst.
It is probably not true, but an exaggeration or distortion of the truth. If you hear something worrying then hold off believing it until the other person knows what is being suggested and can fully respond. In other words, the basic assumption should be based on the knowledge that neither of you will place the children at risk and that you trust each other as parents. Both of you have the children’s interests at heart and the children love you both.
- Educate the people around you.
We all have families and friend who want the best for us and sometimes they believe that this means building us up and knocking the other person down. In your case however, it is important that those surrounding you understand that you do have a continuing need to work in partnership supporting each other for the sake of your children.
- Remind yourself of the above before speaking with each other.
Maybe have this note to hand by the phone. Practice being considerate to each other. Remind each other about this note and be courageous enough to apologise when you get it wrong.
- Either or both of you may make mistakes, but don’t give up if you do.
Think about your role and whatever went wrong and how you could have approached matters or responded in a different way.
Above all, remember that your children need you to do this for them. How you manage your communication will directly effect their future, how they trust and deal with not only the two of you, but also with other people.