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3 types of listening that aid in divorce proceedings

If you have made the decision to end your marriage, you are probably dealing with some heavy, overwhelming emotions that can cause anger, frustration or even depression. As you navigate these difficult emotions, you must still be able to focus on your future and what you need to be successful. This may involve having a productive conversation with your spouse that is fact-based rather than emotion-based. If you understand the following types of listening, it may be easier to get your point across and get things settled quickly.

1. Active listening

Active listening means that you give the speaker your full attention. Rather than forming your response or insulting your ex, active listening requires that you really listen to what the other party is saying. Once you are done listening, you should repeat back what you heard in your own words, just to make sure you are both on the same page. Use gestures, facial expressions and body language to show the speaker that you are actively engaged in what he or she is saying.

2. Reflective listening

Reflective listening is very like active listening, but instead of asking questions to get clarification, you should be reflecting the emotions the speaker is feeling to show them you are listening. Reflective listening also requires you to ignore behavior and focus on the cause of the behavior, take a step back from your own emotions, show empathy for the speaker and avoid using "why" when asking questions as this can show judgement.

3. Critical listening

If your goal is to analyze and evaluate what the speaker is saying, then critical listening skills come in handy. The ability to listen critically is valued when you need to problem solve or make decisions. To listen critically, you must use your own personal judgment to settle disagreements. In this case, it is best if you and your spouse can put your emotions aside and focus on the facts rather than the feelings.

Simple ways to listen successfully

Sometimes the only way to control a meeting with your spouse is to listen attentively and show them that you are willing to try. Come in to the meeting with an open mind, be relaxed but attentive and maintain eye contact with the speaker to show you are taking the conversation seriously.

If divorce is on the horizon, and you want to make sure that both you and your spouse are treated fairly and that emotion is minimized when it comes to things like child support, child custody or alimony, you may benefit from speaking to an attorney before you start the process.

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Divorce Information Center

Contemplating divorce is difficult. Whether or not you are sure you want to end your marriage, it helps to learn the basics of divorce law.

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