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Post-divorce: On keeping those communication channels open

Communication difficulties are among the most commonly cited reasons for divorce in the United States. But unlike other causes of marital failure, communication woes can continue to cause headaches for couples well into their post-divorce lives. This is because many divorced couples have to continue communicating with, and working with, one another even once their split is complete.

The most common cause for this maintained relationship is shared child custody. Two ex-spouses cannot effectively parent their children without communicating with one another on a regular basis.

Divorced couples in Florida and across the United States often see their communication skills with their ex-spouses decline, though, following a divorce. Even maintaining a poor relationship can be difficult, so improving communication between both sides can be a steep challenge. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to open the doors for improved communication and relieve both you and your former spouse of some headaches.

The most important consideration is to keep things courteous and calm. Don't allow yourself to be baited into a fight, and don't give your spouse any fuel for his or her fire. Talk openly and calmly and don't dwell on lapses in communication or simple misunderstandings. If you are dealing with a spouse who is easily frustrated or short-tempered, patience only becomes more important.

If you are going through divorce proceedings, a calm demeanor is even more important because anything you do or say could come up in the divorce process, and the ramifications could be costly. Don't put yourself at risk of losing child custody or receiving worse divorce terms because of actions you'll come to regret later.

Finally, don't play the blame game with your spouse. It isn't constructive and won't make your situation any easier. With time and a lot of persistence, you may be able to achieve some workable conditions and comfortable communication terms with your former spouse, but the onus is on both parties to try to make things better.

Source: Santa Monica Mirror, "Communicating with your ex after divorce," Andra Brosh, March 25, 2012

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