Article by Aleksandra Kocelko, Esq.
One of the biggest challenges for any divorce or separation is determining how to co-parent effectively. The reasons for the separation can often lead to hurt feelings, resentment, and anger, which can impair the ability to work together in the best interests of your children. While an adjustment period is completely normal, some parents struggle in the long run to communicate effectively. If you and your co-parent are struggling to work together or even have civil conversations, there are a number of tools you can utilize to start that co-parenting relationship.
There are a number of great applications or websites to help improve communication. One of the most common is Our Family Wizard, often recommended by judges and courts. Another common app is AppClose or Talking Parents. Each of these functions differently, but essentially they provide a platform for parents to communicate. While you might think emails or texts can also be used to communicate, the benefit of these apps is they provide a centralized repository for all communication. You no longer have to scroll back and remember if you discussed some issue on the phone, by text, in person, by e-mail, etc. instead you know everything is cataloged on the app. Many of these can also provide time-stamps to show when messages were sent, read, and responded to, which can be helpful if there are issues where one parent claims not to know information. Some apps allow for professional access that enables attorneys or counselors to log in and view messages and exchanges.
Co-Parenting counseling is another useful tool when parents are struggling to work together. This type of counseling provides parents with the tools necessary to improve communication and resolve disputes. It can be used in cases with high conflict and tension or by parents who might just need some tips and tricks to use as they transition to separate households. Some parents might utilize co-parenting counseling to resolve specific issues like creating a custody schedule or deciding on participation in extracurricular activities.
A parenting coordinator can be beneficial when parents routinely disagree or repeatedly bring motions to the court. This type of coordinator is an attorney or mental health professional who is appointed by the court to assist parents in making certain decisions. They don’t have boundless authority but are able to make recommendations about specific issues or items to the court.
These are just a few of the resources available to parents struggling with communication and custody issues. Other parents might need something as simple as a few articles to read with suggestions on a very specific topic. If you have issues co-parenting and are unable to communicate or work together, contact one of our experienced family law attorneys with Burns White for a free consultation.