Communication within the family can be difficult, and adding divorce into the mix can greatly diminish communication effectiveness.
A divorce breaks down the multiple roles you once had within your marriage. Your role as “spouse,” “partner,” “confidant,” and “friend” will change throughout the course of your separation and divorce. But your most important role of “parent” and the responsibility to raise your children won’t change.
The road to effective co-parent communication can be easier for some than others. After 20 years each practicing family law, attorneys Ann-Margaret Alexander and Andrea Nyren Doyle have compiled tips that can help even the most high conflict parent improve their communication skills, for the sake of their children.
Adding New Challenges to Effectively Communicate
Divorce presents new challenges to parents. One of the hardest of these challenges is having to parent from two separate households. Coordinating communication between parents can feel impossible – especially for divorcees in “high conflict” situations.
But there is hope: Treating the situation with the same sensible, rational, and tactful approach as done in the business world or your profession can greatly reduce unnecessary tense moments and misunderstandings.
The Goal of Divorced Parent Communication
The best thing you can do for your child is establish a mutual understanding with the other parent that, even if you do not “like” talking with one another, you will put in your best effort to communicate in a productive way that achieves the ultimate goal: To benefits the life, development, and well-being of the child.
6 Tips for Successful Communication in Divorced Parents:
- Act as a team (or as partners in a business partnership, with the shared goal of your child’s well-being)
- Focus on the present and future (not the past!)
- Develop a communication framework – The more structure, the better. This is especially true for high conflict or emotionally-charged situations. Use email or online calendaring.
- Do not undermine the other parent’s authority, even if you do not agree with them at the time. – Wait until you are not in front of the child to discuss your concerns with the other parent.
- Understand, acknowledge, and support that you both have a stake in the child’s parenting.
- Do not go down “the rabbit hole!” – When talking to your ex-spouse and you feel things heading in a bad direction, switch the topic or move onto something you know you both agree on. If what you’re talking about is not directly related to the child and topic at hand, “table” that issue for a later date.
Effective Post-Divorce Communication Starts with an Experienced Attorney
Hiring the right family law attorney to be by your side throughout the separation and divorce process is important to help start the effective communication process as soon as possible. An experienced divorce lawyer will guide you through legal obstacles, and provide a personal level of service to help empower you to practice healthy communication.
If you are going through a separation or thinking about initiating a divorce, please contact our Cary divorce lawyers at the family law firm of Alexander & Doyle, P.A. for your consultation, today.