Good communication can make a significant difference in the length and overall stress level of a divorce. But, is it even possible to obtain positive communication during a breakup when there were issues in this area during the marriage? The good news for Maryland couples who are looking to part ways is that “good communication” during and following a divorce looks quite different than within a marriage. Here are some of the ways exes may choose to communicate:
Text messages are great when there is a time crunch or the issue that needs to be resolved is simple, especially when pertaining to co-parenting. One important rule to follow is to respond to text messages in a timely manner, ideally within three hours. Even a simple “OK” to acknowledge that the message made it through can aid communication through text.
A benefit of voicemail is that it allows for more elaboration than email and can better convey tone. However, since it does not leave a written record, voicemail is not ideal for anything urgent or any efforts to change or make new agreements. It is ideal to let someone know when a voicemail has been received, ideally in writing and within 12 hours.
Email is not as good a system as text messaging for urgent issues; however, it is preferable if there is more information to convey. For example, requests to adjust drop off or pickup time a few days in advance (with an explanation as to why) might be best sent through email. The benefit here is that the request and reply will have a written record. Emails should be replied to within 24 hours, where possible.
Overall, communication should follow the BIFF model by being “brief, informative, friendly, and firm.” Depending on whether there are contentious issues in play, lawyers may have additional guidance to offer individuals on how they should and should not communicate during their divorce. It is therefore a good idea for individuals to speak with their lawyers about their specific communication challenges and goals as they relate to co-parenting, division of property and any other issues.