Unless you and your ex-partner have an amicable separation, co-parenting can be a highly frustrating and emotional task. Your children are already going through a tough time due to their parents’ breakup, so it’s vital to the wellness of each member of your family that you and your ex find ways to co-parent in a civil and healthy manner.
Communication is vital to any relationship, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that healthy communication is also the basis for successful co-parenting. Here are some considerations for communicating with your ex-partner and moving towards a healthy co-parenting relationship.
The Golden Rule
Even if the court has ordered limited communication, you will still need to exchange information regarding your children with your ex-partner from time to time. Whenever dialogue occurs, treat your ex as you want them to treat you: with respect, consideration, and understanding. Do not withhold information about your children if you wouldn’t want it withheld from you. Be cooperative and courteous and keep the focus on the well-being of your kids as much as possible.
Phone Calls – One of the quickest and easiest ways to establish communication with someone is via telephone. However, you are not awarded the opportunity to un-speak any unhealthy words you might use out of anger or frustration, so it’s important to consider your intended tone and dialogue before initiating a phone call.
Email – Electronic communications like e-mails are beneficial to use while co-parenting with your ex-partner for a few reasons:
- It documents what is said by each party.
- It provides a record of communication that can be revisited and referenced.
- It offers you time to consider your words and tone before your message is sent, which lowers the chances of communicating in an unhealthy way.
Text Messages – Texting offers a quick way to exchange brief information. Like email, text message communications are composed and sent electronically, meaning there is a record of your exchanges with your ex that can be used for reference in the future. It also gives you the opportunity to think about what you say before you hit ‘send.’ However, our fingers can get carried away if a heated argument ensues, so it’s best to handle disagreements via email, or after both parents have reached a calmer mental state.
Keep Each Other Updated
A common argument-starter for divorced or separated parents is the withholding of important information. Upon returning your child to your ex-partner’s care, or their returning of your child to your care, you should both update one another with any recent changes in or occurrences of:
- Developmental milestones
- Feeding and meal routines
- Sleep and nap schedules
- Potty training
- Doctor visits
- Social activities
- Relationships with friends
- School and assignments
- Sports or activities
- Disciplinary issues
- Educational progress
- Behavioral issues
When both of you are open and honest with one another about all aspects of your children’s lives, there is a decreased chance of miscommunication, arguments, and spiteful feelings – all of which serve to prevent a healthy co-parenting relationship. The focus should always be on raising healthy, well-adjusted kids, and a healthy co-parenting relationship will help you achieve this goal.
Your Reliable Family Lawyer in Maryland
If you’re having issues with co-parenting, or need legal assistance with your divorce, separation, or custody issues, there is always help close by. Alan Billian is a Maryland divorce and family lawyer with over 28 years of experience in helping couples and families navigate these difficult processes and come out strong. Contact us to schedule your free legal consultation today.