Dealing with Divorce
Communication Tools to Help You Cope
Everyone knows divorce is difficult from an emotional standpoint but it’s also difficult to communicate with your ex after it’s over. If you don’t have kids or commitments holding you together, your need to communicate is minimal. But if you share child custody you may need some tools to help smooth the communication roads between you. Here are a few that can help you negotiate your new relationship with your ex.
Keep A Notebook
This may sound like something from the dark ages for many of us who are so used to texting but keeping track of the important information your ex needs to know, and passing the notebook back and forth when you exchange the children, is a good way to share information without inflaming tempers. Write down just the facts of what needs to be communicated. No comments on how she forgot last time or never does it right, just the details of what the ex needs to know.
Texting can also work but it’s not as consistent a record as a notebook and it’s possible to miss a text. Many people have difficulty reading tone in a text or may feel safer saying things over text that they wouldn’t say in person. Texting has a way of dehumanizing the recipient and making the sender much more brazen and unaccountable. Texting can also be seen as interruptive by the recipient, particularly if one parent wants to communicate more often than the other.
If you both have smart phones or daily access to a computer you may want to use an electronic calendar. This way both of you have access to all of the information and important dates and both of you can edit the calendar. You can also use email reminders and invite features to track your ex’s response without making a call and asking if he’ll be there. You can enter comments such as the address of a doctor’s office or phone numbers with all of the information kept in a central location.
If you’re the primary custodial parent from a school district and medical viewpoint, give your ex access to the information he or she needs and you won’t have to act as the go-between. For instance, if your school district has you listed as the primary contact, all information will be funneled through you. Give the district and your children’s teachers your ex’s contact information. Do this for the children’s doctors as well. With HIPAA your ex cannot get information from the medical provider without your approval. Allowing this communication will take one more thing off of your plate.
Communication tools aid us in communicating with people in our lives, particularly the ones we wish we had less contact with. However, the tools are only as good as our ability to use them. For your children’s sake use the tools to provide information not emotional commentary. Be respectful as you would of someone you don’t know. Push past the hurt or frustration. Your children will be the winners when you do.
Dean Tsourakis has been helping families through divorce for nearly 10 years as a divorce attorney. Call him today. The initial consultation is free.