Co-parenting can be a major challenge for divorced couples with children. Whether parents have joint custody or are sharing parenting time on a schedule, they want to continue to be part of their children’s lives and to take an interest in how their children are raised. A key to achieving these goals is maintaining a reasonably harmonious line of communication with each other.
If you and your ex are sharing parenting duties, disagreements can arise over a multitude of issues, ranging from schedule conflicts to financial concerns. Having a communication protocol in place helps prevent small disputes from erupting into big ones. Discussions will be most successful when you are calm, level-headed and businesslike. Such a protocol also benefits the child by fostering a positive environment that reduces emotional stress.
Keeping up regular discussions with your co-parent is one way to prevent issues from popping up unexpectedly. As children grow, they become more intellectually and socially developed and their lives get more complicated. Holding to a regimen of regular conversations — including phone calls, texts and in-person meetings — is preferable to speaking with each other only at the point of picking up and dropping off the child or during other encounters when there is insufficient time to discuss things.
Particularly helpful as means of communication are online co-parenting apps such as OurFamilyWizard, WeParent and 2Houses. These multifunctional platforms include scheduling calendars, posting boards, expense recordings, document libraries and messaging tools. These apps offer various options, which include tools for maintaining a record of parenting time and any changes that are negotiated. Some apps will let you check the content of your messages to make sure you’re not giving off negative tones. You can also set up accounts for third parties such as relatives, other people who participate in the child’s upbringing and professionals. You should choose the app that best suits your family circumstances.
Whether you use a co-parenting app or stick to your own communication methods, it’s important to keep your focus on the best interests of your children and to put their needs first in any conversations you carry on. You can do this most effectively by maintaining a willingness to listen to the other’s opinions and to compromise when needed. When you genuinely disagree, you should discuss the matter honestly and with genuine consideration for the other’s feelings and reasons. You should also keep records of all discussions and of all decisions made, which can help prevent ambiguities arising later on. A qualified family law practitioner can work with you to set up a suitable communication protocol to help ease the management of your post-divorce child custody and child care issues.
Dawson Family Law, PLLC in Sterling Heights assists clients throughout Michigan with a wide range of family concerns, including post-divorce parental communications. Please call me at 833-671-4445 or contact me online for a free initial consultation at my office.