I generally blog about areas of law that I have some particular knowledge of, in hopes of educating clients and prospective clients. I suppose this post is no different in that I hope to educate, but today is not so much about the law. Instead, I wish to discuss how parties should act towards each other when dealing with the difficulties of separation or divorce.
There may be any number of reasons for deciding to separate from your spouse or significant other. Without detailing those, it is fair to say that some of those reasons may be extremely difficult to deal with on an emotional level. Once you have reached this conclusion, there will be many more difficult and complicated decisions that must be made. Some of these are discussed in my January and February 2013 blog articles.
It is important to ensure that you do not make this process any thornier than it already will be. One of the most common challenges you will face is communicating with your ex, or soon to be ex. I see examples nearly every day of these problems. They appear in all forms of communication between spouses. While technology is generally a benefit to our lives, it may be detrimental to our interaction with our ex.
For example, text messages and emails are often used to say things that you might not say in person. People use this technology to name call, belittle and harass the other party. They seem to forget that everything they publish through these mediums is recorded, and will be available to the other party to present to a judge if necessary.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media are often used by one party to gain information about the other party. Your activities, relationships and habits may be displayed for the world, or at least your close friends (or are they friends?) to see and perhaps share with others, including your ex if they choose.
There are a few simple rules by which to live. Though they may seem difficult at times, they will be of great value. Remember the following:
- Be polite and respectful: Though the situation may have you extremely upset, and you are tempted to say how you really feel, don’t do it! Remember Thumper from the Disney cartoon and live by his words: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all!
- Limit your communication: If you find it difficult to be polite and respectful to your ex, limit your communication. Rely on your counsel if necessary to assist in the communications with your spouse. They are a voice of reason, and will help to move matters forward without the unnecessary bantering and emotion.
- Clean up or close your social media accounts: Review each of your social media accounts and ensure that there is nothing posted there that you would not be proud of in court. Ask yourself, what would a judge think of this post/picture etc? How might this post/picture affect my claims? Can this be used against me in any way? You also need to ensure that others are not posting things about you such as pictures that might be problematic to explain to a judge. I often suggest that social media accounts be closed all together to protect the client and their children.
Remember, what you say and do can come back to haunt you. Be cautious in your communication. Be thoughtful, slow to respond when angered, and wise about what you say or do. By following this advice you will help ease the challenges that come with your separation or divorce.
If you are currently facing, or considering a common law separation or divorce in the province of Alberta or would like a second opinion regarding your situation I am happy to speak with you. Contact Mark Baril at 403-328-5577 or 780-790-2022, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.