I often find myself offering up the same divorce hack over and over. The situation or circumstance doesn’t usually matter. It’s adaptable to different scenarios, and always valuable – When problems arise, start communicating in writing with your ex-spouse. It’s simple, easy and uncomplicated. And yet it can be a game changer, both legally and emotionally.
Eliminating the She Said/He Said.
During divorce, verbal exchanges breed misunderstanding. They just do. Conversations can seem like a blur and accurately keeping track of who said what is next to impossible. People who are already emotional with a lot on their plate should not be responsible for retaining all this info strictly by memory. Even when you take emotion out of it, who can remember what was said five weeks ago on a Tuesday afternoon when you were rushing out the door? A constant failure to be on the same page due to miscommunication is emotionally exhausting and can cause legal problems.
Even seemingly harmless misunderstandings pile up to become huge problems.
“I never said that!”
“No, YOU said I could pick the kids up at 8:30 today!”
“I remember you saying I could have the laptop!”
Exhausting, right? Luckily, a lot of this is avoidable. Do yourself a favor and start putting your divorce communication in writing. And, thanks to our phones, we have the tools on us at all times.
Make it a habit forming.
Instead of jumping straight into a phone call, get in the habit of communicating by text, email or with an app. It’s a lot easier to stay calm in a disagreement by text than face-to-face. This helps take emotion out of it and can slow things down. Plus, there’s now a written record, which can be used to support your position down the road or as evidence in your legal divorce. It’s an emotional and legal win-win.
What if my Ex won’t put anything writing?
Sometimes, the other person won’t participate. Which begs the question – Why is that? Do they feel like they have an advantage by talking to you in person or on the phone? Are they trying to maintain a connection with you? No matter the motivation, there are options. For example, you don’t have to give in just because the other person won’t respond to a text or responds by calling you.
Stick to your plan and continue to communicate in writing, even it the other person won’t. Or try reaffirming, in writing, the desire to communicate in writing. Courts can also make orders that the parties communicate only in writing.
What if we have to talk?
Sometimes, communicating in writing just isn’t feasible or realistic. If you are going to communicate verbally, try confirming your understanding in a follow up text or email. A confirming text will ensure you are in the same page and save headaches down the road. Plus, it can be valuable evidence if it evolves into a legal dispute.