Some of the most common mistakes made by co-parents involve communication. If a divorce is contentious, people often rely on their family law attorneys to communicate for them. This can make finding a way to communicate about their children challenging.
Even with a detailed custody and visitation agreement in place, managing everyday things like sports schedules, doctors’ appointments and school events can be challenging for some couples. If this the case, there are two important things that you should avoid if you don’t want to cause your children any further emotional turmoil.
First, don’t ask your children to be your messengers to communicate with your ex, even about mundane things like telling him/her that you’ll be late picking them up. Children should never be put in the middle. If you do that, you’re basically telling your kids that you’re not mature enough to civilly communicate with their other parent.
If you feel that you are unable to directly communicate with your co-parent, there are online tools such as coparently and OurFamilyWizard so parents can keep track of schedules, finances, school projects and other parenting matters. These co-parenting tools also allow you to have a record of these matters so that you avoid miscommunication and “he said/she said” arguments.
Second, if there is a scheduling conflict regarding vacation plans or a weekend visit, don’t ask your children to choose. That’s only going to make them feel that they’re choosing between their parents. Work it out between yourselves. By using co-parenting tools, you can help avoid these miscommunications, so there’s no reason for your child to be put in the middle.
Often, divorcing parents choose to keep their custody and visitation agreements vague, thinking that they’ll just “play it by ear.” However, even if you and your ex have an amicable relationship (and especially if you don’t), the more clearly that matters involving scheduling, expenses and responsibility for various aspects of your children’s lives (medical care, education and religion, for example) are spelled out, the less conflict you’ll have. Your Louisiana family law attorney can advise you based on your particular situation.
Source: Huffington Post, “5 Common Post Divorce Parenting Mistakes,” Hanif Virani, Feb. 19, 2016