Aretha Franklin’s song “Respect” is considered to be one of the greatest Soul tracks of all time. Aretha had it right when she sang about getting respect. Isn’t that what we all want… a little respected? I can’t help but think about something my grandfather used to tell me, “To get respect, you have to give it.” That little piece of advice has helped me throughout my life and it is something I try to pass on to my clients. Divorces often lack anything but respect, but if a couple can continue to have some sort of respectful relationship all the better. This is particularly important if the two of them share children. A respectful relationship is best to have some sort of relationship with your ex-spouse. When clients begin the divorce process, child custody issues and all other disagreements requiring our services, I always offer them this bit of advice.

To keep those communication lines running smoothly, we begin with these three general guidelines. While they may seem like common sense items to you when tensions run high, they are often easily broken and can cause irreparable damage to a relationship and they will certainly destroy any hopes of maintaining a respectful relationship.

  • No name-calling;
  • No nicknames;
  • No profanity; and
  • No abusive, sarcastic or insulting language.

Texting is a fantastic way to quickly convey information to someone. It is a fabulous way for you and your ex to quickly exchange basic information. However, it can and often is, misconstrued and taken out of context causing the receiving person to completely misunderstand your intentions. I am guilty of it on both sides as I am sure many of you are as well. If I’m busy, I might quickly type a response just to make sure I don’t forget to respond, but if I am not careful it is easily misread by the recipient as short and crass when that wasn’t my intention at all. I am also guilty of reading more into a text from someone else when it was never intended that way at all. Another issue with texting is not responding and the other party assuming a non- or late response as ignoring or being difficult when in fact the non-response is due to a bad service area or uncharged phone battery. Bottom line, don’t make assumptions or read too much into a text or non-response unless the other person has given you a reason to in the past. Also, try to be considerate and respectful in your text messages and respond in a timely fashion.

Email is quick and effective as it creates a true record of communication. Keep them professional and to the point. Much of the same guidelines as texting apply to being careful to choose words and response times wisely.

Another note regarding texting and email communication, both are easily captured and printed to submit as evidence in court. Never text or email anything that you wouldn’t want a judge to read.

Telephone calls are a great means of communication to eliminate any miscommunication IF you and your former spouse can speak without World War III breaking out. When possible it is best to answer the call and discuss what needs to be discussed, but if you can’t answer right away, return the call as soon as possible to avoid the other person feeling that you are ignoring him or her.

No matter which means of communication you use, you should keep it brief and to the point of keeping the focus on the children. Unless all parties agree to something else, it is best that the two parents communicate with one another and avoid having a stepparent or significant other do the communicating.

Are you facing legal issues and aren’t sure where to begin? Call Kevin Hickey Law Partners to schedule your consultation today. We pride ourselves on our family law experience and expertise. We also pride ourselves in showing our clients respect during this stressful time. If you want an attorney that truly cares and respects your situation, we are ready to help you with your case. Call today.

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