As a divorce attorney, clients often ask how they can avoid, limit or at least minimize contact with their former spouse after the divorce process is over. First, if you have children in common, it is important to your co-parenting that you be able to have some level of reasonable communication, whether that is through a parent communication app or portal, in writing through email or text message or ideally, through a civil speaking/working relationship with one another. Obviously, if the court has directed that you and your ex have continued communication through a parenting plan, you will need to comply with the court’s order. However, if there are no children involved or the court was willing to set very specific parameters regarding your communication about your children, how do you keep boundaries in place to limit or minimize communication with your former spouse?
Why Do Many People Want to Limit Communication After a Divorce?
Your reasons are not as important as making sure you have strategies in place to control or limit the communication if this is a priority to you, whatever the reason. There are many reasons that clients share they desire to limit contact or communication after a divorce. Some of the reasons include protecting privacy, peace of mind, and being able to move on with your life in a peaceful way. While going through a divorce, many clients report a lack of trust and a fear that if they have one-on-one communications with their former spouse, something will be taken out of context or miscommunicated, causing other problems. In these situations, often resolution of the case can be more effectively communicated through mediation or a meeting with the parties and their lawyers.
When mediation issues are discussed while going through a divorce, it is important for you to know that mediated discussions and conversations are protected and kept safe from the court process. Specifically, this means that you are free to discuss resolution of the case, make offers in compromise, or even make statements without them being used against you at the time of the divorce trial or hearing. Of course, if you have questions about what this means for your case, you should discuss this with your divorce attorney.
How Can You Protect Your Privacy Going Forward?
One of the biggest sources of conflict is face-to-face meetings. Generally, those should be avoided. That is because conversations are not documented or recorded. Whereas, communications through email, text message, voicemails, or communication apps are documented or recorded. If in-person or conversational meetings are necessary, you should try to keep them as brief and business-like as possible, set boundaries about how the conversation will happen (i.e. no yelling, no invading personal space, etc.), and let your ex know that the meeting will be over if the boundaries are violated, work to make sure that both you and your ex speak respectfully, focus on discussing or resolving only one topic, try to be business like and not focus on personal attacks.
What Should You Do If In-Person Interactions Between Your Ex and You are Not Going Well?
If the other parent has visitation rights, and the exchanges repeatedly result in difficult communications or stressful interactions, you may need to consider using supervised exchanges. Supervised exchanges allow your child or children to be exchanged with the assistance of a third party, avoiding the parents having direct contact or interaction with one another. The third party can be a mutually agreed upon person such as a mutual friend or a relative or can be through a supervised visitation program. The goal of having strategies for communication after a divorce, whether it involves how you communicate or even protection from communication such as the situation of a supervised/monitored exchange is to ensure that you and your former spouse can be effective parents and have appropriate, reasonable communications.
Do You Have More Questions?
If the current court orders in place are not effective in addressing problematic communication between you and your former spouse, it is likely time to get a professional involved in coming up with alternative strategies or even determining that a return to court is needed to modify the current arrangements. If you need to discuss your family’s needs, please call Pingel Family Law at (816) 208-8130 to schedule your consultation today.