Parents going through a family law case often look forward to the day when the final Judgment comes down. “Whoo! It’s over!” They say.
But when you have kids with your ex, it’s never really over. As long as your children are minors and you share parenting responsibilities with your ex, you have to communicate with him or her.
Sometimes moving out and moving on improves your relationship. But often, the problems that led to the end of the relationship will continue into the future. This sometimes means conflict over custody and visitation, child support, where the child goes to school, and sometimes even over whether the child gets his hair cut!
How to Communicate With Your Ex
What do you do when you have continuing communications difficulties with your ex and you have to co-parent? Here are some tips.
- Get the Court Orders to Be as Specific as Possible – When you have continuing conflict, it is important that the Court Orders are as specific as possible. Specify the exact times for visitation and the place where the children will be exchanged.
- Use Documented Communication – Sometimes the court orders parents to communicate through specific software like TalkingParents. If there is a court order, make sure you are always communicating through this program. This will keep a record of all communications that you can present to the court if there is a dispute in the future. If there is no court order, you should still communicate through a written mechanism such as email or text message and keep copies of all communication. This is valuable for future litigation, but it also decreases conflict because when people know there is a record, they tend to tone things down.
- Consider Counseling – Most people think counseling is only for people trying to save a relationship. But if your ex is amenable to counseling, a therapist may be able to help you work out your parenting and communications issues so that you can focus on your kids.
- If All Else Fails, File a Contempt Charge – If your ex consistently violates court orders and will not cooperate with you, your remedy is to file a Contempt Citation. This is a Quasi-Criminal Complaint which means that, if convicted, your ex could face jail time. Contempt Citations are challenging to prosecute and it is not recommended that they be pursued in pro per. You should also know that while you do not get a free attorney to file the Contempt Citation, if your ex is poor, he or she will get a free attorney to defend them on the Contempt Citation portion of the case only.
If you think going back to court to clarify an Order or to Prosecute a Contempt Citation would help improve communication in your case, give me a call at 877-369-5294 today.