When you and your co-parent don’t get along, it can make communication very tricky — and it’s wise to be cautious about what you say.
Because ex-spouses often have a lot of conflicts, it’s common to limit communication to emails, instant messages and texts. You still need to be careful, however, with what you write. Anything overtly hostile, threatening or inappropriate in a message may eventually find its way in to court — and that can complicate your custody situation.
Tips for messaging your ex-spouse
To avoid problems, here are a few things you should keep in mind:
- Choose your battles carefully. You can’t win every fight, so focus on the most important issues and let the rest slide.
- Talk about the issues, not your ex’s character. If your ex-spouse isn’t making certain that the kids are getting their homework done, for example, focus on why that’s a problem — not the fact that you think it’s one more example of how your ex is a lazy, uninvolved and neglectful parent.
- Limit your conversation as much as possible. Ideally, you should keep every message brief, professional in tone and clear. State the problem, the proposed solution and express your thanks for their willingness to work with you for the children’s benefit (even if you think they’re not particularly accommodating).
- If your ex responds to messages with rude, hateful and accusatory messages of their own, do not fire back. Take the high road. Remain calm and focus on the issue that prompted the conversation. If you ever have to take those messages into court, you’ll be glad you did.
What can you do if your ex-spouse has become an impossible co-parent?
If you ex won’t work with you on any issues involving the kids and it’s having a negative effect on their lives, it may be time to discuss a change in your parenting plan. An experienced attorney can help.