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Communication advice for separating parents


This week, Good Divorce Week 2021 focuses on challenges of parenting during and after separation. A key part of parenting during and after a separation is going to be addressing communication.

It is not appropriate or comfortable for anyone to deal with issues in dispute while doing a handover of the children. However, it is likely you will need to pass on practical and relevant messages to your ex-partner about the children generally and you are unlikely to see each other until a handover takes place. You may like to consider using a handover book, either purchased online or you can create a book yourselves.

Relevant information would include things such as whether the children have been unwell and if they have had medicine given to them, if they have eaten well, what their sleep has been like, their general wellbeing and mood etc.

If you would like to purchase a book, The Handover Book written by Ashley Palmer and Leigh Moriarty is available to buy online. Ashley Palmer is an Accredited Child Inclusive Family Mediator, Family Law Consultant and Psychotherapist and Leigh Moriarty has completed the Resolution child and family consultant training and is a qualified Systemic Family therapist. The book is a continuously updated co-parenting plan, designed to encourage communication based on information about the child’s needs, routines and welfare. The authors also provide a session if requested to explain the book and how it can be used effectively to establish strong child focused communication moving forwards.

Alternatively, there is an excellent app called Our Family Wizard in which you can add notes to one another and include all sorts of relevant information regarding the children.

Aside from handover generally, it would be useful to establish what method of communication may work for you. Whether that is telephone calls, emails, texts, meetings in person or requiring assistance of a third party. Ideally, children should not be present during any of these discussions or able to overhear the discussions, so that they are not exposed to adult communication. If you are meeting in person, you may like to consider meeting in a public place to help keep things amicable. Be aware that anything communicated in writing makes it difficult to convey tone, so it is worth re-reading your communication before it is sent so that the recipient does not read unintended emotion into the text.

The key thing will be determining what works best for you as parents.

Amy Trench specialises in arrangements for children following parental separation or divorce. If you need help with a parental responsibility matter, contact Amy today on 023 8082 0511 or get in touch here.

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