A recent news story about a man who was arrested for allegedly trying to have his former spouse killed over child support brings attention to an often-ignored area of divorce law: the after effects. After a divorce, what happens between a man and a woman who shares custody and control of a child? How can that communication be made better to avoid extreme situations like the one in this news story?
Admittedly, the “murder-for-hire” scenario is rare. What is far more common is that ex-husband and ex-wife exist in a perpetual state of anger and miscommunication that is never rectified. This ultimately takes its toll on the couple, but the true tragedy is the effect it can have on the children.
It is well-documented that children raised by parents who get along, even if they are divorced, are less likely to have emotional issues related to the divorce. When parents continue to fight and argue, it is likely to have a negative impact on the children, even after the divorce is final. Therefore, it is important that the parents learn to communicate and cooperate for the good of their children, if not for themselves.
The Five Rules of Successful Communication
Entire books have been given over to coach people to communicate successfully, but here are five basic rules that anyone can follow to make communication easier:
- Stop the blame game. Is proving your ex-spouse’s wrong going to change their mind or enhance communication between the two of you? Let go so you can both get on with your lives and stop trying to “score points” on them. If they do this to you, ignore the behavior; it is more likely to stop quickly if it is not satisfying.
- Listen to what is said. We have a tendency to hear what we think someone means rather than what is actually said. Take all statements at face value and stop reading meaning into their statements. Treat what they say literally and it can gradually lead to a better mode of communication.
- Give and take. Successful communication is built on give and take. Statements such as: “I think you are right about X, but I also think I am right about Y” tend to have a much more positive impact than “I am right about Y and you are wrong about X.” Find good things to say, even if it is difficult.
- Be ready with a solution. If there is a problem, have a solution ready along with an alternative. People are much more likely to agree when they are allowed to choose.
- Give respect to get it. Do not downgrade your spouse to your children; treat them as a parent of your children and always give them the necessary respect.
The Men’s Legal Center is here to help you get through your divorce and the aftermath with minimum issues. Contact us today to learn how to handle your family law matters successfully.