There are many ways to facilitate respectful communication with your former spouse if you find that “face to face” interactions can lead to conflict. Here are some of our favourites.
- Restrict your communication to written form.
By sticking to email, texts, or letters, there is a paper trail of your exchanges and you avoid the potential conflict of having to discuss matters face to face. It’s important to keep in mind that anything in writing could end up in court, so write as if a Judge will review it. Another tip? When writing, keep to the BIFF principle: Brief, Informative, Friendly and Firm.
- Sit down with a mediator.
Having a neutral third party present can be a very effective way of diffusing tensions and helping everyone to understand both sides of the story. A mediator will meet with you and your former spouse to help you work on the ways that you communicate with one another, creating a standard for going forward. They can be hired privately or met with free of charge through the Justice Access Centre.
- Hire a divorce coach.
Divorce coaches are mental health specialists trained to assist with managing the emotional aspects of separation by helping parties identify goals, overcome potential hang-ups, and keep things moving in a forward direction. Depending on your circumstances, you may share a divorce coach, or each have your own. If you have extended health coverage, divorce coaches who are also psychologists can often be covered by your medical plan.
- Agree to speak through your lawyers.
If you aren’t getting anywhere on your own or with the help of your mediator/Divorce Coach, it may be best to restrict communication between you and your former spouse completely and let your respective lawyers negotiate solutions on your behalves. It can be helpful to have lawyers filter out unhelpful communication and focus on the legal issues to be resolved. This can be especially necessary in high-conflict cases or situations involving family violence.
Caution: This is not legal advice, and you should not rely on it as such. To ensure your interests are protected, formally seek advice from a lawyer.