Easing Conflict Between Parents After Divorce

Conflict 315

High conflict custody situations can be difficult for both parents and children. It is important to identify situations that repeatedly cause conflict and create solutions to minimize problems. Here are a few common areas of conflict that co-parents face and a few possible solutions: 

Information exchanges. One of the biggest sources of conflict in shared parenting arrangements is information exchanges. During a marriage, one parent is generally in charge of keeping track of the children’s schedules. After a marriage ends, one of the most common complaints we hear is that one parent isn’t sharing information about school activities, doctor’s appointments or activities.

The parent who was in charge of the schedule during the marriage no longer feels like it is their job to keep the other parent informed, and the other parent either doesn’t take the initiative to get the information or doesn’t know how to get it.

The best solution to this problem is to create an online shared calendar. Cofamilies.com is free and easy to set up an online calendar, and either parent can access, view and update information about the children’s schedules and activities. Using an online calendaring system helps to minimize conflict, because it eliminates direct communication that can lead to a misunderstanding.

Online calendaring also forces both parents to take some initiative to share and to obtain information. It also creates a record of both parents’ efforts of the parties to exchange information. 

Sunday evening e-mail. A Sunday evening email is also a great way to communicate information about your kids. The Sunday evening email should not contain any negative comments and must relate only to the children. It should only contain information about what you did with the children while they were in your care, activities you engaged in, upcoming events or issues relating to homework and health. Sending a Sunday evening email that relates ONLY to your children helps to ensure you are both on the same page when it comes to the health and behavior of your kids.

Child exchange. Another common source of conflict takes place during the exchange of the children for visitation. Often, one parent utilizes this time to discuss money issues, school problems or other sources of disagreement. Because it is important for your children to see you interact with each other in a healthy way, try not to discuss any matters of significance during the visitation exchange.

Plan exchanges in a public place, such as a fast food restaurant, the mall or a park where other people are present. This helps to ensure that everyone is on their best behavior and helps to reduce the opportunity for an argument.

Every family is unique, and you need to find solutions that work for your family. Generally, any system you can put in place to define how and when you exchange information will be beneficial to both parents and the children. Accept the fact that you will continue to be in each other’s lives. Keep trying to develop ways to communicate with each other in a healthy and positive way for the benefit of your kids.  

Kristin Shearin is an attorney at Passenant Risser & Shearin PLLC in Charlotte.