In this day and age, electronic communication is instant and almost universal. We’re told that communication is the key to successful relationships, but when can it be ‘too much of good thing’? The earliest use of that phrase in print comes from Shakespeare’s play ‘As you like it’ in about 1600. It means that sometimes excess may do you harm…and all too often these days in mediation cases we find that a common issue to be discussed between separating couples is the use and abuse of electronic forms of communication by one or both of them.
It is so important when picking one’s way through the emotional minefield of separation and divorce to be aware that once words have been ‘posted’ on a website, shared on Twitter, been exchanged on Facebook, or sent in an email, they are ‘out there’ in the internet ether and it can be well-nigh impossible to take them back. My grandmother always said ‘never write down anything that you wouldn’t want to see published in the Sunday newspaper’. She was a wise woman!
Words written in anger can lead to all sorts of misunderstandings that may also draw in friends and members of the extended family, culminating in a free-for-all of vitriolic exchanges. So how can family mediation help?
In mediation sessions, we can help clients to talk about the ground-rules for acceptable and effective communication between them. Some common agreements that might emerge could include:
- Not using social media to refer to anything relating to the separation or divorce
- Not using social media to share any information about the children in the family
- Using emails or texts to communicate, and remembering to:
- Stick to the point
- Keep it factual
- Be polite
- Not using any form of electronic communication to ‘bad mouth’ the other party
- Not involving friends and family in the issues
- Considering having a meeting in a neutral public venue, for an agreed amount of time, to discuss issues relating to the children and/ or finances face to face (where this is safe and appropriate)
If you and your ex-partner need help with issues like these, why not get in touch with us at Cambridge Family Mediation Service on 01223 576308.
Come along for a mediation information meeting with one of our highly experienced mediators to find out how we can assist you.
Mediation is a process in which you and your ex meet with an impartial third party who will guide you through the decisions that you need to make. The mediator will:
- Not take sides, or make judgements about you and your situation
- Provide you with lots of information to help you decide what arrangements are best for your family situation
- Help you to discuss the arrangements for your children
- Help you to exchange details of your financial information
- Help you to consider the options for how to separate your property and finances
- Encourage each of you to seek independent legal advice about the arrangements that you make, so that you only reach agreements that are in your best interests
Separated Parents Information Programme
The mediator will also give you information about the FREE (for a limited time only) Separated Parents Information Programme, a 4-hour workshop that you can attend (without your ex) to receive lots of helpful tips for:
- supporting your children through the difficulties of separation
- communicating with a difficult ex
- looking at the emotional impact of separation on you and your children
- working out the next steps for moving forward with your life