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Communication Tools To Use With Your Co-parent: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Conversations with your co-parent aren’t easy when they’re acting a fool, but if Helen Keller found at least four different ways to communicate, so can you. Don’t worry, no one is asking you to hash parenting details out over brunch or a long phone call if the relationship isn’t amicable. In this day and age, there are a variety of ways to converse with your co-parent that are easy, practical, and judge-approved. Yes, it’s convenient to pick up the phone, but how often do your calls end in anger and/or tears? Any family law attorney will tell you that phone calls can go south fast, with no record of what was said. Even if you and your ex pass the vibe check, it’s still important to find out what form of communication works best in certain situations. Would an attorney recommend regularly texting your co-parent about the kids? How often should you touch base with a phone call? Here are five commonly used forms of communication (and how to effectively use them).

Phone Calls. If the year was 1989, then a phone call would be a no-brainer. Fortunately for couples who can’t be civil to save their lives, this isn’t the only form of communication available to them in 2020. Saying that, phone calls are still recommended in certain situations. In the event of an emergency, a phone call might be necessary or even expected. If you have a healthy relationship with your co-parent, phone calls can be a great way of delivering news regarding your child. Saying that, we do suggest that you keep any phone conversation brief and to-the-point. The longer you stay on the phone, the more time you have to remember why you divorced in the first place.

Text Messaging. Any millennial or introvert will tell you that receiving a text is far superior to receiving a phone call, and in many cases, they’d be right. If you’re running late to drop off your child with your co-parent, a quick text is definitely the best way to let them know. Text messages are also a convenient way to answer quick questions that don’t require a lengthy discussion, but AVOID sending long paragraphs expressing your thoughts and feelings. Remember, text messages can be captured via screenshots without you knowing, so don’t lose your cool and say something that can be used against you in court.

Virtual Calls (FaceTime, Zoom, Etc.). Virtual calls have really been a lifesaver in 2020, particularly with families being separated by COVID. If you find yourself separated by your kids due to the pandemic, or just over the holidays, virtual calls are definitely the way to go. Think twice before you have a FaceTime call with your ex, however, particularly if emotions are running hot (…or if their stupid face makes you angry).

Emails. E-mails are definitely the way to go if you want a record of your communication. As always, be sure to keep your temper in check and not say anything inflammatory that can be used against you later on. Emails are great for discussing anything at length since they can be saved and documented (they’re also a great way to communicate holiday plans).