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How to Respond to High Conflict Communication from Your Ex

Posted on in Divorce

Naperville divorce attorney, communicationsWith the wide variety of communication methods available today, many divorced people report receiving hostile emails, text messages, or letters from their ex-spouse. Divorce is not an easy process, and times of conflict tend to make people emotional. Your spouse may be angry, sad, or still processing your divorce in some way. Receiving an angry letter or email from your spouse can be upsetting, and you may be wondering how to proceed. Should you respond? What should your response include? Should you be worried? This is a person you once loved, and may even share children with, so how you handle yourself is important. In addition to potentially harming your relationship, if any of your divorce proceedings are not settled, your response could impact the outcome of your case as well.

Should I Respond?

In reality, most hostile texts, emails, or letters do not require any response. Angry letters from an ex do not typically hold legal significance, so if you can let it go, do so. Responding will only escalate the issue, and will likely encourage your ex to respond again. If your ex is simply venting, let them. Their communication only holds power over you if you allow it.

That said, there are times where a response is necessary. If, for example, your ex has used their letter to file a formal complaint against you, or you and your attorney believe the communication may impact your case in some way, a response may be needed. In these cases, a general rule to follow is to keep things as civil and brief as possible. Divorce specialists recommend communicating in manner similar to how you would respond to a work email. If you write something that you would not like the public to see, do not send it. Keep your communication as brief and civil as possible

Be Brief

The more you write, the more you open up the door for your ex-spouse to respond. A lengthy message will encourage your spouse to respond. Try simply responding to whatever the letter expressed and nothing else. This will hopefully indicate to your ex that you are not looking for a back-and-forth dialogue, but simply found replying once necessary. Respond only with the facts, not your personal feelings. This can be difficult, especially if you feel personally attacked, but keep in mind that the goal is to end the communication swiftly.

Only State the Facts

While you may be tempted to respond emotionally, your best course of action is simply to reply with the facts. Make your case, and leave it at that. Do not use any threats. Do not speak negatively of your ex. Do not be sarcastic. If your ex has a high-conflict personality, anything you write, other than the facts, will only elicit more conflict.

Be Firm

Using confidence, state your case, and close the discussion. Do this by writing something like “that is all I have to say on the issue.” Avoid writing things like “I hope you will agree that...” or “Let me know what you think about...” as these types of phrases will only open the door for your ex to respond again.

If you are concerned about your ex, or are worried about any aspect of your divorce, you may need the help of a qualified DuPage county divorce attorney. At the Pesce Law Offices, P.C., our skilled team has handled a wide variety of divorce and family law cases, and is available to assist you today. Call 630-352-2240 to schedule your free consultation with a member of our team today.


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