2022-11-17T18:20:31-0600 2023-01-30T13:30:59-0600 True Effective communication helps co-parents stick to their parenting plan. Learn how OurFamilyWizard supports communication for co-parents. Effective communication helps co-parents stick to their parenting plan. Learn how OurFamilyWizard supports communication for co-parents. /sites/default/files/media/image/2022-11/blog-parenting-plans-ofw-uk-1.jpg Parenting Plans, Co-Parenting on OurFamilyWizard

Parenting Plans and Co-Parenting: How a Communication Strategy Can Help

Communicating About Co-Parenting (Ideally in Writing)

Co-parenting can be tough, especially in circumstances where the parents are finding it difficult to communicate.

For parents to co-parent effectively there is often a discussion between them at the outset surrounding the arrangements for the children and how the parents will work together. There may also be guiding principles or ground rules which they will agree to adopt for the benefit of the children. This can be an informal verbal agreement, but it would be beneficial to record what parents have agreed clearly in writing.

The OurFamilyWizard platform contains (amongst others) a messaging feature to discuss important issues regarding the child such as the extracurricular activities that the child will join. Messages cannot be edited or deleted and a trail of this communication will be accurately documented on the platform.

 
A father and son sit on a couch together as they both use their smartphones.

When Co-Parenting Communication Breaks Down

However, if it becomes apparent that there is a dispute over child arrangements which cannot be resolved between the parents, it is advisable to seek legal advice, particularly where the wellbeing of the children is being impacted.

A family law specialist can provide independent advice on the law relating to child arrangements and can also signpost to alternative dispute resolution services such as mediation.

A mediator will help both parents work together and explore options on how they can make important decisions concerning the children. This may include how much time each child spends with each parent. The mediator can also help improve the relationship between the parents by suggesting ways to enable more effective communication.

If an agreement is reached the details can be recorded in a parenting plan.

OurFamilyWizard’s free Professional Accounts give mediators the option to overview both parents' activity (with their consent). The parenting plan can be uploaded to the MyFiles section of the Info Bank feature, which is accessible to both parents and can then be replicated in the calendar feature for both parents to see.

 

How a Parenting Plan Can Improve Co-Parenting Communication

A parenting plan is a written agreement made between parties and covers the practical issues around the parenting of the children.

It is advisable to start considering a parenting plan sooner rather than later, especially if relations are deteriorating.

Issues such as how the parents are going to communicate, to practical considerations such as how the children will be introduced to potential new partners, can all be set out in the parenting plan.

A solicitor can assist in drafting a comprehensive parenting plan which will be divided into broader categories including, but not limited to, communication, living and childcare arrangements, the relationship between money and the children, education, and any other issues.

Communication is generally the biggest issue for separated parents to overcome and can make up a large part of any parenting plan. As well as identifying the mechanisms for how parents are to communicate with each other about the children, this section can also be used to set out the types of decisions they need to consult each other about and those they do not need to consult each other about. For example, parents may want to consult each other in relation to after school clubs or external influences such as social media, but may not deem it necessary to consult with each other on food habits or preferences for the children.

The agreement may also lay the foundations and mechanisms for parents to settle any disputes about the children as well as how they will share important information such as school reports or health issues.

 
Mother and daughter sit on the floor together to paint pictures on paper.

Respectful Communication Keeps the Focus on the Children

Whilst co-parenting can be challenging at times, learning to co-parent effectively is beneficial to all involved, especially the children. By focusing on the needs of the children, attention will become more focussed and enable parents to reach more child-centred solutions.

Being considerate of each other’s feelings and recognising how best to communicate will inevitably reduce conflict. A detailed parenting plan will help everyone involved know and understand what is expected of them and will be a valuable reference point as children grow and their needs and circumstances change.

OurFamilyWizard complements parenting plans and helps communication between co-parents by putting the focus back on what is important, namely, the child(ren) and their arrangements going forward.