Co-parenting, particularly after an emotional and hard-fought divorce, can be an arduous and intensely strenuous process on the entire family to say the least. Ex-spouses who find themselves in a co-parenting situation are confronted with particularly special communication challenges. Tasks such as adhering and/or adjusting to parenting plans, coordinating child expenses, scheduling around work and activities, and communicating with ex-spouses (or soon to be ex-spouses) are inevitable realities of co-parenting. After a divorce or separation, it is an unavoidable fact that parents must remain in close contact with each other in the co-parenting context. A top concern, and often a major hurdle, for many parents is the question of how to foster and maintain effective co-parenting communication after a divorce.
In the digital age, there are available online solutions that can help with co-parenting communication. While our firm does not advocate for or against using the websites discussed in this article, we think it is important for our clients to know that they offer alternatives for co-parenting communication. Two websites stand out: OurFamilyWizard.com and ShareKids.com. The communication and coordination options presented by these two websites provide divorced parents the means to get beyond numerous telephone calls and face-to-face meetings with their ex-spouses. Too often children find themselves caught squarely in the middle as “messengers” regarding adult issues — putting the child in a very difficult position. The use of these web sites could be effective in eliminating oftentimes-inappropriate use of the children to pass information from one parent to the other.
Each website contains a variety of specific resources for each parent to utilize: shared parenting time calendars, medical and school information, emergency contacts, parenting rules, private postings, and other postings that are viewable by both parents. Accounting tools are also available for tracking expense sharing and contributions from each parent. The diary resource on the Sharekids site allows parents to document issues that arise during co-parenting.
An SK&H client familiar with Sharekids.com has noted the site’s strong points, including: user-friendliness, comprehensive resources and the fact that communication between parents can be streamlined.
It should be noted that both websites do require varying fees for the services provided, but may be useful in sparking new ideas about how to better communicate with your co-parent.