Everyone knows effective communication is vital, yet many of us still struggle with it. Poor communication often breeds confusion and frustration, and if you are in the midst of a separation or divorce focusing on effective communication becomes even more vital.
As we (somehow) gear up for another school year, communication between divorced parents remains critical to your child’s success and well-being. Interestingly, as a family law attorney, this is the exact same time of year that I see frequent breakdowns in communication. Whether one parent has the children every other weekend, or you are sharing the children on a week-on, week-off basis, consider invoking the two tips below throughout this upcoming school year to ensure everyone is on the same page. Your children will thank you.
- Schedule a specific, weekly time for you and your ex-spouse to effectively communicate about what is going on at school.
It can be hard enough for spouses to effectively communicate when they are under the same roof, much less when they are under two. If it is not already included in your court order, at a minimum, schedule a weekly email that serves as a review of the past week, and a preview of the week to come. This allows parents to confirm and supplement previous conversations, or share information for the first time in an organized, comprehensive, and neatly-packaged manner; piecing together and remembering who said what in various text messages throughout the week is exhausting. Sunday nights are a perfect time for this kind of email.
- Both parents should be involved when communicating with the school.
If one parent discusses a significant issue with school personnel at carpool drop-off or pick-up, let the other parent know. When the time comes for a parent-teacher conference, if possible and appropriate, schedule it at a time both parents can attend together. And if communication with the school is by email, copy the other parent to the email (and please, for the sake of your child’s teachers and administrators, don’t use these emails as a platform to air your dirty laundry between one another; their jobs are hard enough). Taking these steps will minimize the possibility of miscommunicating conversations with school personnel, which in turn minimizes conflict. It also ensures both parents are involved and in the loop as to what is going on at school, even if it is as simple as a field trip.
Between new friends, sports tryouts, homework, grades, social media, and adjustments to new teachers and environments (to name a few), there is enough a child goes through during any given school year. And between work, mortgage payments, and relationships with your children and significant others (to name a few), there is enough an adult goes through during any given school year too. But by making a specific plan on how you can effectively communicate with your ex-spouse during the school year, you can ensure everyone is informed and involved, decrease conflict, and create a united front to support your children.
Do you have questions about an effective communication, separation or divorce? Contact us at email us, fill out our form on this page, or call 704-442-0000 to speak with one of our experienced attorneys.