Communicating Responsibly With Your Ex-Spouse

When you look through our blogs, you will notice a theme throughout our content. When people go through a divorce, we advocate that they consider the long-term consequences of their actions. Those who default to a short-term mindset are more likely to attack their spouse through their attorney as a form of retribution or fight for custody because they want to pay less in child support. Any validation you get from engaging in this sort of behavior could further erode your relationship with your former spouse or children. 

Regardless of how your marriage ended or whose fault it is, you have to learn to develop a new relationship with your spouse when you have children. We offer collaborative divorce services because it fosters a sense of shared responsibility and teamwork, attributes of strong co-parenting relationships. 

Communication Is Not a Soft Skill

“Soft skills” are non-technical, and if you have read a job posting, there are usually a series of them listed. People skip over them because they are difficult to test, and most assume they are sufficient at things such as communication, conflict resolution, and team-building. Soft skills take active work and practice, which are crucial to building a successful co-parenting relationship. 

Having a failed marriage doesn’t classify you or your spouse as a failure. However, you do have to accept that something led to the end of your marriage. Feelings of resentment and blame can carry over after your divorce is finalized, but there’s nothing to gain by reigniting old arguments. Work through your feelings with trained mental health professionals, and at first, limit your communication to things about your children

Many couples try to “win points” or beat the other in an argument. Even if you make a valid point at your spouse’s cost, that may create more animosity. No one wants to cooperate with someone who humiliates them or tries to knock them down. Instead, think about your child. Ask yourself whether what you are doing hurts or harms your child because they should be the only ones “winning.” 

Words Can Set the Tone

Another common tactic is to limit your communication to one method, such as email. People typically don’t respond to emails as quickly as they do to texts. If your spouse sends you an email that upsets you, walk away. Don’t write something negative back because it leads to more fighting than a resolution. Begin each email with a basic greeting. Look at how different these messages can come across.

  • Example A: Hey! Hope everything is going well. I am getting out of work late on Friday, and I was wondering if I could please pick up the kids at 6:00 instead of 5:00. Does that work for you? If not, I will have to figure something else out. Thanks in advance!
  • Example B: I’m trapped at work. I will be at the house at 6:00 to get the kids. 

The first example begins selflessly because it asks how the other person is doing. If your spouse was nervous opening a potentially angry email, this greeting shows that you are not here to fight. Rather than telling your spouse what will happen, you are respectfully asking. The second example focuses on your problem and what you want to happen. 

Granted, your spouse may not respond well to either, but if you keep your correspondence polite, you are laying the foundation for a better relationship. 

Build A Better Tomorrow with C. Alvarez Law

If fighting and assigning blame got you and your child everything you wanted, we would do it. However, we have found it creates the opposite effect. We keep our sights on long-term goals and will continue working alongside you until they are achieved. Learn more about our collaborative divorce and family law services by contacting our office and scheduling a consultation.

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C. Alvarez Law

C. Alvarez Law is a Central Florida-based law firm that helps families find resolutions to their most complex family law issues. We are dedicated to providing the support and advice you need for a positive outcome and a better life. Before you can move on with your life, you need closure. Our firm is diverse, energetic, and passionate about delivering this for the clients who have placed their trust in us. Let’s work together today to find a better tomorrow.

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