Jane-Ashley McMillan, Attorney at Law

Communication tips for new co-parents

New co-parents typically carry emotional baggage beneath the surface level custody conversations they have together. Whether talking to your ex makes you feel angry, sad or remorseful, these emotions can make it uncomfortable to routinely discuss schedule arrangements and make custody exchanges.

To make these communications a little easier, try these tips for new co-parents.

Use an app

Co-parenting apps for your smartphone or computer are specifically designed so that ex-partners can communicate accurately, efficiently and minimally. These can help keep you and your ex from calling or text messaging too often, while also minimizing miscommunication or forgetfulness about your custody schedule. Here are a few examples you can try:

Make custody exchanges in public

When you first start dropping off your children with your ex for parent time, it’s a good idea to make this exchange in a neutral location. Visiting your ex’s home may spark emotional feelings — especially if your ex has a pet the two of you shared or a new relationship.

By conducting this exchange in public, you and your ex may have an easier time remaining calm and civil with one another, which is ultimately in the best interests of your children.

Accept the reality of co-parenting

As a co-parent, you and your ex will likely raise your children differently. This can be a tough reality to accept.

For example, rules in your house may or may not apply to your children while they are at your ex’s house. Similarly, as a co-parent, you won’t have much influence on the rules, rewards and punishments your ex sets for your children while they are together.

Unless you believe your ex has put your children in danger or denied them basic necessities, you’ll have to accept the parenting decisions your ex makes. Gaining this acceptance will make it easier for you to know which matters relating to your children should be discussed with your ex. It’ll also help your children adjust to growing up with two separate parenting styles.

Using a lawyer

For legal matters, such as making or changing a child custody arrangement, you can use a lawyer to communicate with your ex. This helps get necessary information relayed to him or her without conflict. Talking to an attorney about your unique circumstances can help you choose the best option for co-parent communication.

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