A breakdown in communication often precedes a divorce filing. Those who are preparing for or are recovering from a divorce typically find that their communication with their spouse or former spouse is changing dramatically.
Poor communication practices can lead to unnecessary conflict and even legal issues for divorcing or co-parenting couples. As a result, it is important to be aware of shifts in tone that may impact a current family law case and/or co-parents’ ability to move forward in healthy ways. These are some of the communication styles that people employ during and after divorce, depending on their particular coping mechanisms.
Letting animosity run the show
All too often, divorcing adults let their intense emotions determine how they behave both in court and when negotiating with their spouse. An adversarial approach will almost certainly result in people saying aggressive and possibly inappropriate things to each other.
Animosity tends to self-perpetuate, so once one spouse lashes out at the other, they can expect some kind of reciprocity eventually. While it may feel good in the moment to let those emotions out, an acrimonious relationship with a former spouse can be frustrating and challenging.
Communicating indirectly to avoid conflict
One of the most common strategies employed by those preparing for divorce involves forgoing direct communication with their spouse whenever possible. In the most intense cases, people may have their spouses communicate in writing through their lawyers.
Indirect or written communication can be a good option for those who share custody of their children, which is potentially one reason why co-parenting apps are such popular tools in modern divorces.
Remaining emotionally neutral
Some people recognize that the fastest way to resolve their divorce will necessitate frequent communication with their spouse, and so they will adopt a stoic or neutral attitude during all communication. That can be effective for limiting conflict, but it can also sometimes provoke the spouse who is not engaging in intentionally-neutral behavior.
Trying to rebuild as allies
Especially when people still have minor children together or share major assets, like a business, that they won’t sell off in the divorce, they may need to work back to a healthier and more productive relationship.
With enough time and effort, spouses can begin to see one another as allies again and work supportively with one another to resolve any issues in their divorce and meet the needs of their shared children.
It can absolutely be a challenge to move from an animosity-based communication style to an ally-based one, but it is possible. Recognizing that divorce does not always have to be an acrimonious and contentious experience can help people readjust their behavior and their communication skills to achieve their goals during the divorce process and during its aftermath.