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High Conflict Co-Parenting and Communication During the Global Health Crisis

Managing communication with your ex-partner or spouse after going through a high conflict family law case can feel impossible. Dealing with a high-conflict co-parent or toxic co-parenting relationship is not only mentally, emotionally and physically exhausting, but doing so can become financially draining if you are not able to find effective ways to communicate without the assistance of counsel. Oftentimes, it does not make sense to communicate through counsel about simple co-parenting issues, as doing so can be both inefficient and costly.

Right now, in the midst of uncertainty, recommendations of self-distancing, quarantines, and the potential for shelter-in-place mandates, it is more important than ever to make sure that you have the appropriate co-parenting tools in place and that you have efficient and effective methods of communication available to you.

The good news is that there are tools available for parents and families that can both give you the ability to safely communicate with your co-parent form a distance while also mitigating the potential for conflict. Although texts and e-mails are common forms of communication, the lack of regulation of these forms of communication can cause problems, especially if the communication becomes hostile or abusive. Sometimes, courts have even limited the frequency or subject matters of communications between co-parents.

Two commonly applications that clients are using more and more frequently are Talking Parents and Our Family Wizard. These websites provide a controlled forum for parties to communicate. They also offer other functions such as a shared calendar, a place to store important documents, reimbursement requests or expense documenting, journals, etc. The purpose of these “co-parenting communication platforms” are to streamline communication between parents in one place, that is monitored (or unable to be altered).

Our Family Wizard has taken it one step further and recently released a “Tone Monitor” add-on. With this additional service, a real third party working for Our Family Wizard will review the tone of all messages and reject the message if it is not appropriate. This tool not only reduces the likelihood that you are going to receive or send inappropriate messages that could perpetuate conflict, but it can also result in a more positive co-parenting relationship.

Similarly, Civil Communicator offers live monitoring of communications by trained specialists who ensure compliance with communication guidelines per your parenting plan. Civil Communicator also monitors and regulates the tone and subject matter of messages being exchanged between co-parents. Civil Communicator offers feedback to parties who may wish to send a message that they perceive to be inappropriate.

With the cancellation of schools, parents working remotely, and dine-in options (which are often points of parenting time exchanges) being limited, it is crucial that you and your co-parent have the ability to reach each other and to communicate. There are pros and cons to every method of communication. At GEM Family Law, we work with many families who need parameters and boundaries to be set with respect to their communication. If you need assistance in a high-conflict co-parenting case and figuring out how to navigate communication during these unusual times, GEM Family Law is equipped to assist you and your family. You can reach our office and attorneys virtually by calling (303) 317-3239.

Authored by: Chelsea Augelli, Associate Attorney