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Maintaining Dignity, Respect, and Open Communication to Minimize Conflict and Protect Relationships During a Divorce

Katie Flowers Samler | October 16, 2023

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Divorce is a strenuous time that impacts more than just the spouses separating. The stress of a divorce can strain even the strongest of relationships between family and friends. Approaching all aspects of divorce with dignity and respect can help minimize conflict and lessen the negative impact of your divorce on the relationships you value the most. There are several different things that you can do to protect these relationships while navigating this emotionally difficult time.

How Can I Minimize the Impact of the Divorce on My Family and Relationships?

  • Take Care of Yourself and Seek Appropriate Support: When you’re struggling emotionally, it can be easy to take it out on those closest to you, or those you feel safest with. But it is important to remember that even your closest friends and family are not responsible for your emotional health during a divorce. Seeking professional support can help you to process the turmoil of a divorce, without unloading on friends and family.
  • Contact Shared Friends and Family: Contacting shared friends regarding your separation can be emotionally trying and uncomfortable, but it can help to maintain those important relationships and alleviate uncertainly between friends who care for both divorcing spouses. Don’t put your friends in a position where they feel that they have to choose sides. Rather, contact them personally to let them know how important the friendship is and that they don’t have to choose between you and your spouse. Take care to respect their decision regarding with whom and how they stay in community with.
  • Respect Your Children’s Relationships With Your Co-Parent: Acknowledging and respecting a child’s relationship with your co-parent is incredibly important. Take care not to disparage a co-parent in front of children, as it can strain the child’s relationship with both parents and cause stress and anxiety in the child. Instead, model effective, dignified communication with your co-parent that puts the needs of the child first. 

How Can I Minimize Conflict and Keep Communication With My Spouse as Civil as Possible?

One of the best ways to maintain dignity and respect throughout the divorce proceedings is to remain civil with your spouse. There are several tips you can follow if you are hoping to keep interactions with your soon-to-be ex-spouse as civil as possible.

  • Stay Calm: When divorce discussions become agitated do your best to remain calm and keep emotions from clouding your judgment. Civility is even more important when tensions are high. This can be especially important when navigating a high-conflict divorce.
  • Focus on the Future: Divorcing couples sometimes like to bring up past issues during their interactions, but it’s best for everyone involved to focus on effective problem solving to lay the foundation for a secure future.
  • Be Honest: Being straightforward and honest can help ensure that there are no miscommunications or misunderstandings, which can often lead to arguments.
  • Communicate in Writing: Written communications like texts and emails are helpful when dealing with an ex-spouse, as they provide a record of the discussion and allow you time to think over what you want to say and how you want to engage.
  • Actively Listen: Active, attentive listening can go a long way in effective communication. Resisting the urge to interject or cut off a speaker and, instead, giving them time to articulate their needs shows a willingness to work together towards an amenable resolution to any conflict. 
  • Do Not Use Insults: Remain respectful when communicating. Derogatory statements and name-calling only exacerbate the issues and make negotiations even more difficult.

When effective communication is difficult, but a willingness to engage and compromise is strong, divorce mediation may be an option worth exploring. Divorce mediation involves an impartial mediator who facilitates settlement negotiations without requiring the formality of a litigated divorce. Goranson Bain Ausley supports each of their clients’ desire to voice their needs and our team of attorney-mediators can help to foster effective communication between divorcing spouses who value the privacy and flexibility that mediation affords. Schedule a mediation today or contact us to learn more about how we can help you through the divorce process with dignity and respect.

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