Communication when you are separated
Sadly, one of the first casualties in any break- up is communication. The old “I just can’t talk to him/her anymore” is fairly common. But keeping up that line of communication is vitally important for families, particularly for children. So, if you really can’t stand your ex but have to continue communicating, what are some ways to achieve that?
A communication book
In cases where parents have difficulty communicating about their children, the courts often order parents to use a communication book.
A communication book provides a way for parents to communicate important issues and events relating to their child, without face-to-face interaction, in order to avoid disputes.
The child typically carries the book in their bag between visits to each parent, and it is preferable if it is a bound book with numbered pages.
It is important that parents only make entries in the book that are brief and child-focused. It should not be used for argumentative or self-serving reasons.
Anything that can help with communication between separated parents is a good thing. For parties where communication is difficult, there is now AI technology that can help improve phone and email communication and much more.
A number of apps contain technology that filters threatening or abusive messages and messages are also stored securely and can be accessed at any time including if transcripts are needed. Parents can co-ordinate calendars, with all events and times covered; some include cost trackers which can include child support or school fees.
Some apps provide space for parents to share photos and other information about the child.
Apps and other online platforms do require commitment from all parties to ensure that the benefits of them are used to their full potential. If used appropriately, they can provide great assistance to parents, particularly in communicating with each other in a respectful, civil and non-denigrating format, as well as organising schedules, and complying with any agreements or court orders that may be in place.
This encourages all parties to maintain a child-focused approach to custody and access arrangements.
The Family Court of Australia recommends apps My Family Wizard and 2Houses, which offer a communications platform, calendar, costs tracker and information sharing. For a more cost-effective option, try communication only based platforms Toppako or Divvito, which offer services to suit most budgets. For more information about other apps, see our article “Making Parents Communication Easier with Technology”
- Use your manners. It’s important to be respectful.
- Set a business-like tone. Speak to your ex like you would a work colleague.
- Make requests, not demands.
- It’s a tricky one, but actively listening to them is helpful for everyone.
- Listen. Show restraint. Keep your cool and don’t lash out over minor issues.
- Commit to meeting or talking regularly (if it’s safe for you to do so).
- Keep your conversations child-focused.
If this has struck a chord with you, please contact our friendly and helpful team here at Michael Lynch Family Lawyers on (07) 3221 4300 or by filling out this form online.