Texting During Divorce, what you should know. texting-during-divorce-balduf

  •  “Don’t worry you will never see your children again.  We are out of here.”
  • “I hate you, your kids will know all about your “friend”
  • “You deserve it, yes, I tore up your papers”
  • “If you leave I don’t know what I will do”
  • “I’m sorry it was all my fault.  I’m a mess”

Texting during divorce: Talking to a spouse or partner directly becomes so emotionally difficult you may start using text messages as your main source of communication. While it can feel easier or safer to express difficult feelings by text or email, separating and divorcing couples should use these methods of communication only if they are careful about what they are writing before hitting the send button.

When we communicate electronically, we lose the ability to hear and see voice tones, body language and facial expressions. When I see email or text exchanges between my divorcing clients, I’m usually struck by how something I consider a simple miscommunication can be interpreted by my client as a slight or some other type of threat. Oftentimes, the party in receipt of that “threatening” email reacts in a way that inflicts similar pain. It can begin with misunderstood intentions and end up spiraling out of control. This becomes even more important when it comes to texting during divorce.

All of the back and forth texting during divorce creates messages that can be admissible in a court proceeding.  This includes one you may not want to be reviewed. What if a Judge were to see all your text communications with your children or spouse?  What would they see, how would it be perceived?

Sometimes texting is the best method of communication.

The good news is that there are ways to use texting effectively:

  • Keep your response brief. This will reduce the chances of a prolonged and angry back and forth. The more you write, the more material the other person has to criticize. Keeping it brief signals that you don’t wish to get into a dialogue. Just write your response and end your message. Don’t take their statements personally and don’t respond with a personal attack. NEVER defend yourself to someone you disagree with, you don’t have to and it seldom comes out in the written text the way you will want it to.
  • Avoid negative comments. Avoid sarcasm. Avoid threats. Avoid personal remarks about the other’s intelligence, ethics or moral behavior. If the other person has a “high-conflict personality,” you will not be able to reduce the conflict with personal attacks. You will only make the situation worse. High-conflict people feel they have no choice but to respond in anger – and keep the conflict going. Personal attacks rarely lead to insight or positive change.  You could end up looking like the aggressor in a situation when it began by some conduct of the other party not seen in the text communication. You look bad, they look innocent!
  • Angry texts present an angry person.  While you may be tempted to write in anger, you are more likely to achieve your goals and make the right impression with the Court by writing in a friendly manner. Consciously thinking about a friendly response will increase your chances of getting a friendly – or neutral – response in return. If your goal is to end the conflict, then being friendly has the greatest likelihood of success. Don’t give the other person a reason to get defensive and keep responding.

Contact Stacey Balduf, Esq. and let her experience and guidance work for you.  Serving Syracuse, Oswego, Wampsville, Auburn and Central New York

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