The strong, even overwhelming emotions that you experience in a divorce can push you to say things that you would otherwise never verbalize, and the same is probably true for your spouse. Frustration over the situation and a desire to feel validated and heard can lead people to say things to their ex that they later come to regret.

While it may be true that you no longer have to worry about preserving your relationship with your ex, you may still need to spend quite a bit of time with them in the future. Especially if you share children, you need to prepare for the possibility of an ongoing relationship long after you divorce. You don’t want something you say in the heat of the moment to impact your ability to co-parent.

Keeping things civil will be in your best interest, which is one of the reasons why, at least early in the divorce, you should consider communicating solely through text messages and emails. Agreeing to only written communication can help you and your ex avoid some of the most common communication pitfalls in divorce.

When you have to type it out, you have a moment to consider what you say

Phone calls and direct conversations face-to-face make it possible for anger and insulting rhetoric to take over when emotions flare. When you see each other in person, keep to small talk and pleasantries, instead of trying to hash out or address serious concerns. Everything that matters should go through text or email.

Writing anything important down will help to keep things civil. You can edit yourself and prevent insults or openings for arguments from making their way into your communication with your ex. Giving yourself a chance to reflect before you respond can help you keep most of the emotion out of the interaction.

Promise yourself to wait at least a full minute after composing a text or email before sending it. Rereading the message after taking a few breaths can make worlds of difference in terms of how amicable or hostile the communication becomes.

A written record provides evidence and certainty

When you make a verbal agreement to change your custody terms with your ex, you may both later recall the conversation differently. The disparity between what you believe you said and what your ex remembers can be the difference between a simple change of terms and a massive fight. Even something as simple as dropping the kids off an hour early should get written out instead of spoken.

When you communicate solely through text message or email, you always have a written record to refer to regarding what was said and what you agreed upon. Additionally, if your ex becomes threatening or hostile, there will be a verifiable record of what they said.