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Communicating with your spouse during divorce

On Behalf of | May 28, 2024 | Divorce |

Divorce is an emotionally difficult time even when the divorce is relatively amicable. The Virginia divorce process involves dividing property and figuring out custody if you have children, all while trying to maintain a respectful relationship with each other.

Working through these issues necessarily involves communication. Perhaps you and your spouse always had problems communicating. Divorce is likely going to make this problem worse.

Even spouses who communicated well during the marriage may struggle to communicate during the divorce process. This is especially common among those do not want a divorce or are hoping for a reconciliation.

While you may want nothing more than to ignore your spouse altogether and shut them out of your life, realistically, you must communicate with them until the divorce is final. If you have children, communication post-divorce is going to be necessary.

Why good communication is beneficial

Accepting that fact can make the situation much easier. Often, couples who refuse to communicate end up with the opposite result. The divorce process drags on longer and contains more conflict.

Although you must communicate with your spouse is necessary, you can and should still set boundaries on communication during divorce.

Communicate with your spouse only on necessary issues, such as children or topics related to divorce. These conversations can quickly shift to other topics, particularly if one spouse feels bitterness or resentment over the divorce.

Communicating in writing

Do not let the conversation devolve into arguing, name-calling or other destructive behavior. If this is difficult or impossible, have all conversations in writing, such as through text messaging, email or a parenting app.

Documenting all communication has various benefits. It can be used as evidence in court proceedings if necessary and helps prevent confusion about who said what. If either of you dispute what the other said or agreed to, you can refer to the written communication.

Be friendly and respectful in your communication, but do not overdo it. If you are the one ending the marriage, you may give the impression that you are not ready for the marriage to be over or are having second thoughts. Communicate only about necessary topics and end the conversation when the topic is addressed.

Being respectful goes both ways. If you are the one who is hoping for reconciliation, do not use every communication from your spouse as an attempt to talk about your marriage or feelings toward them. Speaking with a counselor may be beneficial if you have unresolved feelings you need to work through.

In-person communication

When you do speak with your spouse in person, know that non-verbal communication can have a powerful impact, as well. Pay attention to your body language. Defensive or rude body language, such as crossing your arms or rolling your eyes, is not going to help a situation.

Remember that communicating involves listening as well as talking. Truly listen when your spouse is talking. You do not need to agree with what they say, but you should listen and consider their statements before responding.

In certain circumstances, having no communication with your spouse is the better option. Some of these include situations where domestic violence or extreme emotional abuse is present.

For example, if you worry that your spouse’s verbal and emotional abuse are hindering you from making smart and practical choices in your divorce, it might be better to cut off contact with them and use a third-party for communication.

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