Many divorcing couples feel that once the divorce decree is signed and sealed, they will never have to communicate with their former spouse again. This is rarely in line with reality, however. Instead, divorce is a new starting point. As you look ahead to this new beginning, there are near-term and potentially even longer term considerations that may span years or even a lifetime. This is why establishing a framework for healthy communication during the divorce process will lead to greater happiness not just for you but for those impacted by your divorce.
Divorcing couples who follow the path set forth by a typical divorce attorney will frequently be discouraged from speaking directly to their spouse. In fact, one of the first directives your attorney may issue is that all communication with your spouse should end, and all further questions should be directed to the attorney. This can have a detrimental impact in the long run. Over time, the ability to speak to the person you once shared your life with is now gone.
The attorney’s responsibility is to act solely on your behalf. Your attorney does not and should not take into account the feelings of anyone but you. This is why your attorney now acts as your go between and a buffer between you and you spouse. Every phone call or email your attorney sends regarding a question you may have carries a cost, not just to you, but also to your spouse. The same is true with the response. For the attorney, this works out well. For the client, however, outsourcing your communications to your attorney is both costly and seemingly unending. Instead of speaking directly with your former spouse, you find yourself stuck in a pricey 4-step communication exchange between you, your attorney, the attorney of your ex, and your former spouse, trusting that the question doesn’t get distorted or misunderstand through these various intermediaries, and perhaps even their assistants. Once the answer is provided, that 4-step process is repeated again, meaning that there are 8-steps to every question/answer. Every step incurs a cost and these legal fees can continue to add up well into the future, particularly if there are kids involved.
There is another way
In mediation, I teach my clients how to communicate with each other and how to take control of the process. Whether the issue relates to children, finances, or assets, it’s important to establish a healthy platform for an ongoing dialogue for your own well-being and for those around you. I work with my clients to diffuse the emotionally-charged aspects of their divorce and empower them to find solutions. This is why it’s so important to prepare to communicate and have the opportunity to hone these new skills in the safety of an impartial environment.
Benefits to direct communication
Consider mediation and its benefits. Rather than giving up control to a third party, hold on to your independence and advocate for yourself. Instead of paying thousands of dollars for attorneys to resolve every question that arises, use that money to take a well-earned vacation and resolve the questions yourselves. In mediation, I am not your go between. You will speak directly to each other. By learning to communicate on a new level, you will not only save money but you will be creating a respectful environment that will extend to those relationships that surround you. Learn to communicate, and plan for it.
Mediation- Keeping the lines of communication open