The key to a smooth collaborative divorce, in many ways, is excellent communication. You must be able to work with your spouse, and you have to talk about this process. That communication allows you to work toward joint goals like dividing up your assets, planning out a custody schedule for your kids, and all the rest.
Naturally, communication may be tough when you’re actively ending your marriage. Perhaps poor communication led to the divorce in the first place. Here are a few things you can do to improve communication moving forward:
- Don’t have public conversations on social media. Keep things to yourselves. Don’t overshare or “vent” when feeling frustrated. Putting everything online only makes it harder to trust each other and it can stir up an emotional response.
- Stay calm for these discussions. If you feel angry or distressed, take a time out and agree to start the conversation back up again later.
- Remember that your tone is as important as the words that you say. If you come across as spiteful or insulting, your spouse is going to react to that as much as your actual words. Don’t undermine the entire conversation by conveying emotions that you’ll later regret.
- Give your spouse time to respond. If you bring something up and he or she wants time to think about it, don’t demand an answer right away. Understand that these are big decisions for both of you. They deserve proper consideration.
- Use the types of communication that make it easiest. Some people prefer to speak in person so that they can really feel connected to the conversation. Others feel like face-to-face meetings are harder, and they can be calm and rational in text messages and emails. Find what works for you.
- Focus on the future, not the past. Don’t get caught up complaining about how you acted over the last year or why the divorce is happening. Just focus on things like child custody, asset division and the like. Plan for what your lives can become and make joint decisions that get you to that goal. Don’t spend the time arguing or letting old issues derail your progress.
- Remember that the goal is not to “win,” but to work together. You both want a successful resolution that works for both of you — and that centers around your children. If you have this goal in mind, it makes it easier to compromise and cooperate, which you’ll need to do.
A collaborative divorce puts your family and your future first. Make sure you understand your rights and all of the steps that you’ll need to take.