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How communication styles can affect outcomes of family law issues

If you asked most people here in Massachusetts what that most important part of a relationship is, they would more than likely tell you that communication is key. But even though clear and open communication is often cited as the most integral part of a successful relationship, did you know it is just as important during the divorce process?

Although this isn't something new to our more frequent readers, anyone who is visiting our site for the first time might be wondering what impact communication can have on their relationship, particularly the family law issues that can arise during a divorce. In this week's post, we will look at a few differences between how men and women communicate to highlight how this can create contentions down the road.

Straight talk versus conversation

Men are more direct when they speak whereas women focus more on the conversation. If a man doesn't engage in a conversation, a woman can easily feel slighted whereas a man sees a woman's constant use of questions as a form of manipulation. If couples are not aware of this difference in communication styles, this can easily create contentions during the divorce process or during child custody negotiations.


According to some psychologists, men typically do not like to apologize after an argument or disagreement because it places them in a subordinate position. It also means losing power, which is something else many men fear. But not apologizing for wrongdoings leaves women feeling as if the problem hasn't been resolved and that the man is insensitive about his actions. This may lead a couple to divorce or create further contentions during the separation process.


For women, decisions are driven mostly by how they will affect other people. Men, on the other hand, are more goal-oriented and make decisions based on how it will serve the purpose at hand. A woman, who concedes to avoid damaging what little relationship she has with her soon-to-be ex, may become frustrated or angry though if she feels as if her spouse is not participating in the give-and-take process. This is often the underlying factor in most property division disputes.

As you can see, communication is important to making things work between you and your ex-spouse. If you're not on the same page or aware of your differences in communication, contentions can arise that may need a lawyer's help to resolve.

Source: Discovery, "10 Ways Men and Women Communicate Differently," Susan Sherwood, Ph.D., Accessed Nov. 18, 2014

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