I always recommend that you should keep your communications with your wife courteous throughout the divorce process, even if she isn’t necessarily being nice.
Remember, anything you send to her could be used at some point in the divorce so sending inappropriate, disparaging or argumentative texts or e-mails can create unnecessary conflict and can come back to haunt you.
If your wife is being inappropriate in her communication, try not to let it get to you. This may be used to your advantage, particularly if you have kids, to show that you are level-headed and that she’s being inappropriate.
I would also recommend working with your attorney to outline your goals for the divorce and stick to those goals. Don’t let little things like “who gets the vacuum cleaner” drag you into conflicts that will distract you from your bigger goals. By focusing on the bigger picture and arguing less about the little things, you will reduce the conflict in your divorce.
Divorce is going to be hard on all parties involved, and naturally there will be some conflict.
If you feel the level of conflict is getting out of control or making it difficult for you to focus on what is important, then determine what the “hot-button” issues for you and your spouse are and make a plan on how you can better communicate.
If you and your spouse do not do well speaking on the phone, then perhaps emails work better for you.
Another way to reduce conflict is to make a list of what your main goals are in your divorce. If you know what you are willing to fight for and what you are willing to let go, then you can reduce conflict by easily agreeing to the issues that are not your main goals.
Many times in divorce litigation, clients have had this preconceived notion that they should not communicate with their spouse. Unless there is a pending order of protection or restraining order, peaceful communication with your spouse can really help reduce conflict in this very stressful time.
This is extremely important when there are kids involved because after the divorce, you will still have to communicate with your ex about the children.
Keep in mind that anything you say to your spouse could possibly be brought up in court, so make sure you keep the communication civil. Also, it helps to approach every aspect of the divorce as a transition and to proceed with the divorce through a practical and logical standpoint instead of going through the divorce emotionally-driven.
When emotions are the driving force in a divorce it makes it much harder to proceed with the divorce peacefully without conflict.
The number one thing a guy can do to reduce conflict in his divorce is cooperate with the process as best as possible. This includes responding to discovery with full and complete disclosure.
When discovery or informal requests for production of documents are not complied with, it raises red flags that can make the case litigious even if nothing is being hidden.
In addition, guys should aim to communicate with their spouse as respectfully as possible despite the often high level of emotional distress involved in a divorce. If custody is involved, the key is to make sure the best interests of the children are what is paramount.
There is software which has been developed to help reduce conflict in custody matters, helping parents maintain joint schedules for their children and to communicate in a healthy manner. One software program in particular actually has a “tone meter” to show the author of a message to other parent whether their tone includes resentment and snide remarks which could be excluded from the message while still getting the substance of importance across.
Often, that tool is only needed in high-conflict cases, but the fact such software exists confirms the fact that communication in family law matters is very difficult and in order to reduce unnecessary conflict, must be kept concise and respectful.
To reduce conflict, be very careful about what you say to the opposing party and don’t say much. Discuss with your attorney how to best converse with opposing party, whether it be only via text and/or only about the children.
You should obviously stay away from negotiating. That’s why you hired an attorney, so let the attorneys do the negotiating.
Also, don’t talk about conversations you have had with your attorney. The opposing party probably knows you well and may try to keep picking at you, but don’t lose control and start talking about what your attorney has told you. It won’t get you anywhere and it could damage things.
The very nature of a divorce is centered around conflict, so it is not always easy to figure out what you can do to reduce it. Sometimes the best way to reduce conflict is to stop doing something rather than trying to take action.
The first step to reducing conflict is to pinpoint what particular issues or stressors cause more arguments or fights than others. For example, if you are unable to discuss parenting time arrangements without an argument, it may be best to have your attorney communicate directly with opposing counsel or appoint a parenting-time coordinator that will help resolve parenting time disputes.
Another way to reduce conflict is to take a step back from the issue that is creating conflict and give yourself a chance to think about how you want to respond before responding. It is very easy to immediately fire back a text or email to a comment that makes you angry, but it may be something you regret doing later because it causes even more conflict. Always pause and think twice about how you want to respond before getting dragged into an argument.
If your spouse wants to start an argument, don’t let her. Walk away. If she still keeps trying to create conflict, tell your lawyer and he or she will figure out what appropriate legal action to take to address the problem.
Have you ever heard the phrase “It takes two to tango”? Well, it takes two to tango, but only one to interrupt the dance of conflict.
Most divorcing parents today are mandated to take co-parenting classes as part of the legal process. If these classes are not mandated in your jurisdiction, completing them is the easiest and most convenient way to learn the skills necessary to successfully reduce the amount of conflict in a divorce.
The key characteristics of a successful co-parenting relationship are open communication, consistency, optimism, flexibility and compromise. These terms might look easy on paper, but comprehensive education and guidance will help keep the transition from “married” to “not married” as safe and supportive as possible.
Treat her like someone you’re doing business with instead of you wife. Taking this approach to your litigation takes the emotions out of the situation and it’s the emotions that drive the conflict in a case.