During the process of a divorce, there are natural changes to the relationship between you and your spouse and, many times, these changes are difficult to deal with. Those going through divorce commonly believe that once the divorce is final, any problems they may have had will be fixed, however, if children are involved, the most common issue divorcing couples run into is their ability to effectively communicate regarding alimony and/or visitation.  Keeping a peaceful, consistent, and civil line of communication with your ex is essential for your child’s well-being.  The following are a number of tips from an experienced divorce lawyer to keep in mind when continuing communication with your ex following a divorce:

1. Remain Calm and Mature

The goal is conflict-free communication.  Whether speaking via email, phone, text, or in person, it is important to remain calm and mature while having your child’s best interest in mind.  It is easy to allow the negative feelings of the divorce resurface, but it is important that you act respectfully and not antagonize your ex.

2. Show Restraint and Poise

Your ex may not show the same courtesies to you, in fact, he or she may intentionally argue, antagonize, provoke, or be difficult with you.  If this happens, it is again important not to drop to this level and show restraint, especially if children are physically present.  Many people are better behaved in a public setting than in private, so if physical conversations are necessary and your spouse is not cooperative, try for a public location instead. Furthermore, it is sometimes a good idea to ask a mutual friend or family member to step in and help if there are issues surrounding subjects such as visitation, drop-offs and pickups.

3. Communicate Consistently 

Consistency is an important concept when communicating with your ex.  It is important to be in contact on a consistent basis in order to create a sense of stability not only for your child, but for both of you as well. Any experienced divorce lawyer has heard of the idea that “no communication” is better, as it may help you to avoid misunderstandings and potentially volatile situations, however, it sends subtle messages to your children regarding your emotional state and your personal feelings towards your ex.

4. Do Not Use Children

Possibly the most important aspect of communicating with your ex is not to allow yourself to use your children as tools or pawns to spite or hurt your ex.  Trust us divorce lawyers on this one! This commonly occurs when parentsplace the children in the middle of their conflict and attempt to turn them against the other parent. This parent attempts to devalue the other parent in the eyes of the child with the hopes to “ally” the child to their own side against the other.

The relationship between you, your ex, and your children is not one of politics or strategy, it is simply a new form of how your family will progress. All too often, there is at least one resentful and/or angry spouse following a divorce and the reality is that, many times, this spouse is all too willing to use the children as weapons in the divorce and post-divorce relationship. These types of parents do not seem to understand that the only victims of this type of behavior are the children.

5. Focus on Your Children

Similarly, it is vital to keep any conversations with your ex focused on the children’s’ well-being.  Do not let conversations stray to topics dealing with reasons for the divorce, lingering feelings of regret or anger, or arguments regarding money/alimony.  The sole reason why you are still communicating is your children and there is no need to get into a discussion with your ex regarding your personal needs or his/her feelings; it should always be about your children.

While this is by no means an exhaustive list of topics and issues to keep in mind when communicating with your ex following a divorce, it is a good starting point.  An experienced divorce lawyer is able to advise you further on how to effectively communicate with your ex and it is vital to speak with a divorce lawyer during the process of your divorce.

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