Miscommunication plagues divorces in numerous different ways. It is entirely too easy for divorcing spouses to become caught up in the adversarial nature of the divorce process itself, and doing so can lead to a number of unforeseen consequences that arise during the divorce, as well as problems with unintended results, when the final divorce documents are entered. Even spouses that begin the divorce process with open communication channels can become enamored with the legal battle that is inherent in, which makes it all the more important to focus on keeping communication alive, even if it becomes difficult to do so. Below are 7 reasons communication can lead to better results for both parties, less hurt feelings, and more stability after the divorce is finally finished.
1. Communication Produces Better Results for Everyone Involved.
By its very nature, the divorce process pits spouses against each other from the outset of the case by trying to parse out which property interests belongs to whom. Because of this, divorcing spouses can quickly become so caught up in the allegations and arguments being made in Court that they entirely forget what was originally important to them. This can lead to significant problems down the line when parties become fixated on winning or beating the other side, and end up with a divorce order that reflects their desire to win rather than their original goals for the divorce. One of the easiest ways to maintain focus on the things that are actually important to you at the end of the divorce is to keep communication as open as possible to avoid misunderstandings, hurt feelings, or sometimes even a perceived need for retaliation.
2. Communication Helps your Attorney Make the Right Decisions.
According to the, “As advocate, a lawyer zealously asserts the client’s position under the rules of the adversary system.” While it is the attorney’s job to represent their clients “zealously” in Court, an attorney generally only has one side of the story to work with. This can lead to problems in the future if clients aren’t up-front with their attorney about the whole story from the outset of the case. Maintaining communication with your attorney is the best way to ensure you and your attorney are on the same page and that your attorney is prepared for issues that may come up in the future.
3. Communication Saves Money.
Anyone going through divorce knows. Attorney time is generally very costly, and that time can add up quickly if parties are using their attorneys to solve every disagreement they may have during the divorce. Having an attorney as a guide through the divorce process is extremely beneficial to getting things done quickly and correctly. That being said, paying an attorney to bring a motion on something that is easily settled through simply communicating with your spouse is a waste of money.
4. Communication Saves Time.
Some divorces can take years to finalize, but that certainly doesn’t need to be the case. The more you and your spouse communicate with each other during the divorce, the quicker the divorce will be finalized. Even if you can’t stand your spouse and want nothing to do with them after the divorce is over, the quickest way to be done with them is to communicate and get it over with.
5. Communication Benefits Children Immensely.
Divorces involving children are often the most contentious. When kids are involved, divorcing spouses tend to make more decisions based purely on emotions, and too often, children are caught in the middle without understand where they fit in whatsoever. Keeping lines of communication open with your children is extremely important to helping them through the divorce. Simply talking with your children about how their feelings regarding the divorce can help alleviate emotional scars that may develop as the divorce enfolds.
While communicating with children during a divorce is extremely important, keep in mind that the focus of the conversation should stay exclusively on the children. NEVER discuss legal matters or allegations made by either side with children. Doing so only puts the children further in the middle, and using information or events to try and sway children to one side or the other is extremely damaging and detrimental to growth.
6. Communication Alleviates Problems before they Arise.
A fair amount of divorce attorney work is entirely reactive. Sometimes attorneys are reacting to the other side violating an order or an agreement, but all too often, attorneys are reacting to things their own client has done wrong. It is maddening when clients do not follow the advice that they are paying their attorney to give them, but it is even worse when a client doesn’t ask for advice in the first place. Maintaining communication and asking your attorney questions can insulate you from making mistakes before they even come up.
7. Communication is Therapeutic.
A lot of stress comes from the aspects of a divorce that are either unknown or seem foreign to a party. Communicating with your attorney, your support network, your therapist, and even your spouse can really help in understanding what you can do versus what isn’t in your control. When you keep communicating, you can begin to eliminate the unknown and start to work through the problems rather than focusing on what you don’t know.
[Drawn in part from Conflict Revolution: Designing Preventative Systems for Chronic Social, Economic and Political Conflicts, 2nd Edition, goodmedia press, 2015.]"Shall I not inform you of a better act than...By Kenneth Cloke