A challenging part of divorcing or establishing parental responsibilities is having to communicate and negotiate with your ex. If your case is contested, you also need to be prepared for your communications to be shared with a judge. Here are some guidelines:
- Let your lawyer do the dirty work – If there’s a contentious issue, your lawyer can share it with your ex or the other lawyer, meaning you don’t have the stress of the conversation and the communication will be civil.
- Everything you say can be used against you – This includes verbal statements, e-mails, Facebook messages, and text messages. Before you hit Send, ask yourself if you would feel comfortable having a judge read what you have just typed.
- Be polite – Treat your ex like a business associate. You don’t have to be friends, but you should stay on topic, answer questions appropriately, and be polite.
- Put it in writing – Take some time to review what you want to say, and hold on to your communications in case they are needed in court. This is a lot easier to do through e-mail rather than text.
- Don’t involve the kids – Do not withhold information about the children. Provide it proactively. When responding to legitimate parenting issues, be accurate, complete, and timely. Do not record conversations with your children or phone calls between your ex and your children. Do not ever use your child to take messages back and forth.
You have the opportunity to show the Court, and more importantly, your kids, that you can remain civil even when you’re under stress. That’s a life lesson you can teach, and it may very well improve your results in court.