We have lost count of the number of times we have heard of divorce settlement negotiations going haywire as a result of email or text messages that are sent late at night! Or sent when emotions (and/or imaginations) have reached vertiginous levels. Such communications are often over-emotional, accusatory, defensive or abusive. They can ameliorate separation and divorce settlement negotiations (as they have the potential to destroy any goodwill that remains) and keep both parties embroiled in their conflict.
This series of blogs will cover our “Golden Rule for Communication” (which you will be lucky enough to read about in this post – phewwww), the two questions that we think you should always ask before you engage in communication with your ex – and finally, in later posts, our Five “F” Words of Communication
So what is the Golden Rule?
For our money, the Golden Rule for communication during settlement and divorce is: always try to write or talk as if your conversation was going to be read out in the cold light of day in the Family Court (ie in front of the judge, the lawyers, your mother, children and/or your best friend). Alternatively, try imagining that you are communicating with a work colleague who works in the same office level as you – that is, someone that you will run into professionally on a daily basis. By keeping these scenarios in mind, you will be more likely avoid “post text trauma”.
This is not to say that you should not communicate with your ex – of course you should – there a million issues that are best resolved by the two of you coming to an agreement, particularly when it comes to parenting. However, we know that in the initial stages of a separation and divorce that people tend to communicate more emotionally than appropriately.
What then is an appropriate communication?
Our next blog will deal will set out two specific questions that you may wish to think about before picking up the pen – or opening up the computer – or picking up your phone or meeting for a coffee…