After a couple separate or divorce they will need to communicate with each other on many issues. This is particularly true if there are children as the couple will still be parents and need to cooperate for the rest of their lives. Divorce attorneys generally recommend email and text communications as the parties are bound by the written communication and the email or text may be shown to a judge. Despite the potential for presenting the emails to a judge, some people use emails and texts as an opportunity to abuse their spouse. Abuse may have been the customary method of communication during the end of the relationship and one party may not even understand how destructive such abuse can be. I have the following suggestions to parties to make communications better.
1) Forget about your history with your Ex. It is harmful to communications to continue to mention past wrongs. Telling your Ex how they made bad decisions or acted badly just alienates your Ex. If you want something done, simply ask you Ex to do the things you want done. If your Ex responds by asking for reasons then you can explain your thinking on the subject. Many times, the other party will merely comply with a reasonably stated request.
2) I was taught as a child to always say please and thank you. This is excellent advice for email communications. If you are asking for something, ask politely and say “please”. When you get a response, say “thank you”. You should say “thank you” even if you don’t like the answer. It doesn’t hurt you to say “Thank you for responding.”
3) Be clear in your communications. The more clarity provided the fewer mistakes are made.
4) Don’t make threats. At least don’t make threats in the first communication. While it may be appropriate to make threats later, starting with threats is never a good idea.
5) Don’t state the obvious. If there is a court order for vision insurance, don’t start by stating the terms of the divorce judgment. Your ex-spouse should know this. Politely ask for the vision insurance cards for the children. This should be sufficient on the first communication. Perhaps the second communication will require you to explain his obligations under the divorce. On the first communication assume your Ex knows what he is suppose to do.
In short, treat your Ex-partner like a stranger.
Successful communications between former partners may reduce litigation and attorney fees.