Avoiding the pitfalls of texting, emailing with a co-parent

Texting and email save divorced co-parents from having to speak face to face or on the phone regularly, as they did in previous generations. However, they can have drawbacks as well, particularly when the former couple's relationship is less than amicable.

Things can get lost in translation when put in writing. What may be meant as a simple comment or question can be read as an insult. Of course, direct insults are easier to make via electronic communication than in person, so it may exacerbate conflicts between co-parents. Emails in particular can become a forum to voice a litany of grievances rather than just address the subject at hand.

Further, most of us are already inundated with texts and emails in our personal and business lives. It's easy for emails and texts to get overlooked or accidentally deleted. A parent may address more than one issue in a communication, and the receiving parent may inadvertently overlook anything beyond the first matter at hand.

Of course, it's the kids who ultimately suffer from poor communication between their parents. That's why more co-parents are turning to apps that allow them to communicate and keep track of their children's activities while breaking the text and email cycle.

There are a number of these apps out there. Ideally, co-parents can decide together one what that has the tools that best fit their needs.

These tools often include parenting schedules, expense logs and school calendars. You may want a place to upload medical records and other important documents related to your kids. Look at the details discussed in your parenting plan to determine what kinds of things you need to keep track of. If your kids are old enough, you may even want to give them access to some of the tools, such as the family calendar.

Of course, these apps are only productive if used properly. If one parent doesn't provide the necessary information, doesn't regularly consult the schedule or ignores reminders, it won't work as it should.

Some parents decide as part of their initial parenting plan to employ these online tools from the outset. Some family law attorneys even recommend them as a way to ease high-conflict couples into co-parenting. Your attorney can also help you work out how to divide the cost of your subscription with your co-parent.

Source: Our Family Wizard, "How to Effectively Replace Email and Text Messaging With A Co-Parent," accessed April 26, 2017

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