Communication between separated parents can be difficult and stressful, for you and for your child. It is important to know the options available to you and how you might effectively communicate with the other parent.

There are four main options available to you as a parent to communicate with the other parent. The first is communicating privately. For example, talking over the phone or messaging on social media such as Messenger. This is an easy form of communication, it is accessible to mostly everyone and in most cases, free.

However, it has some negative aspects. Private conversations like calling or Facetime cannot be recorded, which can make it difficult to track plans and changes in schedules with your co-parent.

Further, phone numbers and social media accounts can be blocked and messages can be altered. This method of communication is also not always protected, meaning that children could read past private conversations.  Protection Orders can also sometimes restrict communication through these methods from a practical viewpoint.

The second form of communication is through the use of co-parenting apps. For example, Our Family Wizard. This app, and other similar apps, allow parents and extended family to synchronize calendars, record conversations and to track expenses. It also has a useful extra, which monitors intended conversation tones and will restrict potential abusive messages which may start an argument.

Apps such as Our Family Wizard are great for making communication easy, by organising schedules and ensuring effective communication without conflict. However, such apps can be costly, requiring an annual subscription fee to use them. Most of these apps offer a free trial, which allows co-parents to see whether the app could work for them.

If you are already in Court proceedings for parenting matters, you can also request the Family Court to direct communication counselling for your family under the Care of Children Act. This applies where parents are unable to agree on matters concerning guardianship, or where a parenting order has been made by the Court.

Communication counselling allows parents to improve their relationship and/or encourage compliance with orders of the Court. They are also conducted by a suitably qualified counsellor and sessions can be one on one or grouped. Communication counselling aims to mend your relationship with your co-parent and support healthy communication going forward. It can provide insights into your communication styles and how it can be best improved for the benefit of your children.

Finally, if none of these options work for you, co-parents may seek to communicate through their respective lawyers. This allows a clear record of communication and can calm a situation by avoiding direct contact.

 

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track

Shaun Cousins and Hunter Flanagan-Connors