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How you can learn to communicate during and after divorce

On Behalf of | Oct 17, 2022 | Divorce |

One of the most common reasons couples divorce in Pennsylvania is that they say they can’t communicate anymore. While you may not have been able to communicate effectively during your marriage, learning respectful communication during the divorce proceedings and afterward can make the process easier, especially if you have children.

Communication is verbal and nonverbal

Verbal communication involves the words you choose and the tone of voice used. Nonverbal communication involves facial expressions and the gestures you use with your words. It also includes body language. There is no such thing as not communicating in marriage, as non-verbal communication occurs constantly. Not knowing how to communicate effectively is what often leads to divorce.

Nonverbal communication is frequently very powerful. It can involve acts like avoiding eye contact, eye-rolling, and sighs, all of which can convey negative emotions. Body position and posture are also crucial when trying to communicate effectively.

Communication always seeks a response

Communication is all about bids and turns. When you make a comment, you seek a response, which is called a turn. Turns can go three ways: turning toward, against, and away. Missing a bid for a positive response is often more damaging than rejecting a reply outright. That’s where ineffective communication can occur.

Engaging in effective divorce communication

Although your legal team will also engage in communication during divorce and other family law proceedings, you’ll also encounter times when you and your soon-to-be-former spouse will be present. At other times, you’ll need to communicate outside of court, especially when making decisions about children, visitation, etc. View your communication as a business-like transaction. Think of the acronym BIFF when communicating, ensuring that you’re brief, informative, friendly and firm.

Using the acronym THINK can also help you communicate more effectively. Is what you say true, helpful, inspiring, necessary and kind? Those characteristics can help you choose the right words during divorce proceedings and afterward. Remembering the BIFF and THINK acronyms can help prevent animosity and make your post-divorce life easier for everyone involved.