Unfortunately, divorce has become a common reality in our society and in the State of Florida, and it has far reaching impacts for individuals, couples, and their children. Twenty percent of divorces are highly contested, causing courts to label these cases as “high conflict,” meaning that there is a troubling trend in communication style between the parents of the children in the case. With intervention, almost 80% of those “high conflict” cases improve and parties are able to address the needs of their children as a team.
Being in a high conflict Florida divorce, throughout the process and after, can be physically and emotionally damaging to the spouses and children. Improving your communication is the single most effective strategy to long term growth in co-parenting conflict. So, how can co-parents improve how they communicate? There are a variety of strategies that can be used to reduce conflict and anxiety. That being said, if you are in fear for your safety or your child, then your best course of action is to remove yourself and your children from danger.
First, stop building a case against your ex, former spouse, or former partner. Judges do not look favorably on parents having long text exchanges that start out discussing the children, and end up in name calling. Requiring your former spouse to only communicate in writing is also unhealthy. In situations where you feel that you need to memorialize a conversation, a follow up email to your co-parent detailing what you discussed in a phone call is more appropriate. Having an experienced Jacksonville Florida Family Law Attorney to conduct the litigation on your behalf is the best tool to helping improve your communication with your co-parent. Leave the lawyers to do their job, and focus on your child in your communication with your co-parent.
Second, using apps like “talking parents” or “our family wizard” are great ways to schedule, coordinate, and plan with your former spouse. These are also helpful because your lawyer, a therapist, and even the judge, can access your communications to see how things are working between you both. Demonstrate kindness and respect to your ex, like you want to be treated and see how things can improve with just small efforts along the way.
Third, keep things simple. When you are communicating with your co-parent, keep your message brief and positive. Negative comments, blaming, name calling, and hashing out old issues are not helpful to anyone involved. Keep your messages to no more than three sentences. Send no more than two messages a day. Stay on topic. When things start heading down the wrong path, take a break from the conversation, and revisit it once you both have had a chance to reflect.
These are just a few ways that you can start working with your co-parent to improve your communication for the benefit of your child. Things may not change overnight, but with dedicated effort, positive changes will start happening for you and your child. Demonstrating a positive approach and effective communication with your co-parent is a great step toward resolving your divorce successfully.
Contact Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A. to set up a consultation with an experienced Florida Family Law Attorney to schedule a consultation to discuss your legal rights and recommended courses of action.