25 Jun Can’t communicate with your Ex? There’s an app for that.
In many separations, children find themselves caught between their parents, and it is well documented that prolonged exposure to parental conflict can have a significant impact on their wellbeing. The ability to properly communicate with your former spouse in relation to parenting matters is critical in promoting your child’s best interests, and luckily modern technology is making communication between separated parents easier. There are several apps on the market designed to assist parents. Using an App to communicate with your former spouse can have significant advantages over older methods.
Many parents that find it difficult to communicate directly have relied on a “communication book”. The book is generally passed between the parties at handover of the children, often by the children themselves. Unfortunately the communication book may not always work as intended, and some potential issues include:
- Children may realise that the book being regularly passed between their parents is about them, only serving to highlight the dispute between them.
- Children may read the book. Writing abuse, swear words, and/or other aggressive messages about each other in the book is a trap that disgruntled parents often find hard to resist. The book may also end up in front of a judge, and this is unlikely to help your case.
- The intention of the book can often be misinterpreted. Communication books are supposed to bring important and practical matters to another parent’s attention. For example, “Molly has been unwell. I gave her some Panadol at 3pm but she might need some more“. The books are not intended to be a surveillance record of whether the child has danced, slept, been to the toilet, or eaten, but they are often used as such.
- The book can get lost, together with your important and private information that might be contained within it.
Parents often also use emails and text messages to communicate. However, these methods of communication come with their own set of possible problems. First, the messages are not all kept in the same place. Second, many parents don’t want to be subjected to having a phone that can go off at any time with a message from their ex-partner. Third, it is all too tempting to fire off a quick, nasty response when a nasty or aggressive message is received, often starting an unhelpful exchange. Text messages can also be read by children and also often end up before the Court.
Parenting apps, such as Our Family Wizard, Coparently, Cozi, kidganizer, 2houses and Parenting-Apart, include various different features which offer some significant advantages over the classic methods. These include information to assist in co-parenting, the ability to sync schedules or calendars, expense management facilities, the ability to share information such as doctor’s reports and/or school reports, photos, and even ‘trade request’ features to enable you to communicate with your partner about swapping days or times in relation to the children’s care. The apps keep all of the information in one place, can synchronise information between households, and are private and secure. So, if you are struggling to communicate with your partner post-separation, perhaps an app is the solution.
If communication is still proving to be an issue, keep it to a minimum, comply with your parenting plan or Orders to minimise disruption, try hard not to buy into arguments (in a communication book, by text or otherwise), use neutral language and avoid inflammatory statements.
If a relationship has broken down, or is breaking down, consulting with an empathetic and experienced family lawyer can guide you in the right direction. We are able to refer you to appropriate therapists to assist in the repair of a relationship, should that be the desire. We are able to advise and assist in a managed exit strategy where that is required, and we are able to give guidance and assistance in relation to protective measures, both with respect to personal safety and also financial security.
Belperio Clark conduct free relationship breakdown seminars on a monthly basis to give people guidance on the various options they have in relation to resolving any dispute at the end of a relationship. Alternatively, you may prefer a personal consultation with one of our experienced family law practitioners to gain insight in relation to your specific circumstances.
Call us on 8212 1322 to make an appointment.