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Communication Tools for Co-parents

Posted on in Child Custody

coparenting, parenting after divorce, Naperville family law attorneyFor divorced parents, communication is crucial. Studies show that post divorced children are most successful when they are able to spend time with both parents, so being able to coordinate and communicate with your ex is absolutely necessary. Speaking with an ex, however, is often much easier said than done. How can you be expected to communicate with a person you would rather not speak to again in your life? While keeping in touch with your ex can be difficult, there are many different tools co-parents can use to keep their communication conflict free. The next time you need to get in touch with your ex, try one of these effective strategies.

Email

Email is a valuable tool for co-parents. Emails are typically quick and to the point, leaving little room for emotion or personal attacks. Emails are very effective for communicating schedules, upcoming activities, and updates on the child’s well being. This is an especially valuable tool for parents who struggle with communicating in person or over the phone, as it allows both parents to quickly get their message across with little time to bring up past issues. Give your ex an email address that you check frequently, and be sure they give you the same. When preparing your emails, type them as if you were writing a colleague or friend. Keep things friendly, simple, and to the point. Keep in mind that your emails could potentially be used in court, if further litigation is needed, so avoid any personal attacks or vulgar language that may reflect poorly on you down the road. As a courtesy, co-parents should respond to any email they receive from each other, even it is simply to acknowledge that a message has been received.

Text Messages

Texting is an effective method for sharing information, but can lead to problems for co-parents. Texting is great for any last minute updates, immediate changes in schedule, and sharing other timely information both parents need to know. Like emails, texts are also short and to the point, so texting is a great option for conflicted coparents. Unfortunately, cell phone technology is not always reliable, so there is a chance that text messages might be missed or not received. Limited characters and punctuation, in addition, can lead to potential misunderstandings or misinterpreted emotions, so be careful with your messages. Texting is also more intrusive than an email, and, as such, co-parents should remember to use texting sparingly.

Phone Calls

While emails and texting should allow you to cover the majority of your communication needs with your ex, an occasional phone call will likely be necessary at some point. If you and your ex are on good terms, you should not have any problems with an occasional phone call. Remember to keep things friendly and to the point, and do your best to avoid blaming or bringing up past issues. If you and your ex struggle to keep things amicable, limit phone calls to emergencies only.

Communication Notebook

A communication notebook is a great idea for day-to-day communication between co-parents. This simple tool will travel with the child as they transition between households, and should be used by parents to communicate things like meal schedules, homework updates, behavioral issues, and school activities. At the end of your time with your child, start a new entry in the notebook, and share any relevant information with your ex. Then, have your ex get into the habit of opening the notebook and checking for any updates as soon as their parenting time begins. You may even consider having them initial your entries after they have read them, and do the same yourself, so you both know that messages are being received.

Yearly Parenting Calendar

A little forward planning can make communicating with your ex much easier. At the beginning of each year, sit down with a 12-month calendar and fill in important information about the coming year for your child. If you and your spouse are friendly enough, both of you can work on this together. Your calendar should include any holidays, vacation plans, and breaks from school, as well as your regular week to week parenting schedule. Be sure that, once the calendar is created, both you and your spouse review it and agree to it in writing. If both parents have an understanding when they each get time with their child, things are likely to be a lot less tense, and surprises will be avoided.

Communicating with an ex can be tough, but co-parents should know that their children are the number one priority. By choosing the right communication tools, and keeping interactions amicable and to the point, co-parents should be able to communicate successfully. If you are still dealing with a divorce, or considering getting divorced, having the help of a qualified Naperville divorce attorney is necessary. Contact the Pesce Law Group, P.C. to get started with an attorney today. Call 630-352-2240 to schedule your consultation.

Sources:

http://www.afccnet.org/Portals/0/PDF/AzAFCC%20Coparenting%20Communication%20Guide.pdf

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/family-divorce/co-parenting-tips-for-divorced-parents.htm

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