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Should you talk with your spouse when your lawyer is not present?

In a divorce, communication between spouses can be difficult and fraught with the potential for misunderstandings. Just one word or quirked eyebrow could set off an emotional conversation that ends up hurting everyone involved.

Plus, it can take just one misstep or misunderstanding for legal issues to result. So, is it ever a good idea to talk with your spouse when your lawyer is not around?

Take your cues from the lawyer

Your lawyer knows the nuances of your situation and can advise you on this issue. In fact, your lawyer will probably tell you very early on in the case how to handle communications with your spouse. In general, lawyers recommend:

  • No communication whatsoever in cases of abuse or domestic violence allegations: Whether you are the one making or receiving allegations, it is not a good idea to talk directly with your spouse, even if the matter seems innocent or like an emergency. If a protective or no-contact order is involved, it should never be violated.
  • Quick communications when it comes to child care issues: If you will be 10 minutes early or late to drop off the children, it is usually all right to give your spouse a brief notification.
  • No communications about legal issues: If your spouse reaches out to you wanting to talk about who keeps the house or about an idea for child custody, it is best to wait to have these talks for when lawyers are around.

Other than that, the particulars really do vary from case to case. If your spouse tends to reply to quick communications about childcare with snarky or even borderline abusive responses, it is understandable if you prefer to just refrain from contact in the first place. Speaking of which, it is a good idea to save abusive, negative and hostile communications from your spouse to show your lawyer. You should also keep communications, whether positive or negative, that pertain to legal issues such as child custody or property division.

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