Do I Need a Third-Party Communication Service to Co-parent?

Do I Need a Third-Party Communication Service to Co-parent?

When parents divorce, they will go from sharing parenting responsibilities within the same family to becoming exes who co-parent. Depending on the circumstances, the shift in the relationship can feel abrupt, and it can take time to establish a functional dynamic. In some situations, it may help to use outside resources to assist with co-parenting. If you and your ex are having trouble exchanging information, you may be wondering: Do I need a third-party communication service to co-parent?

Co-parenting from different homes can be complicated. Parents have their own unique styles of relating to their kids, which may or may not conflict. This problem can be further exacerbated when one parent has parenting and house rules that are vastly different than the other. When former spouses can’t get on the same page regarding key parenting issues, it can create tension and conflict for everyone involved. In some extreme situations, these differences could result in further legal proceedings. Sometimes parents can avoid conflict and resolve disputes by relying on an external resource.

What are Co-parenting Third-Party Communication Services?

Third-party co-parenting communication services are tools that parents can use to communicate and share information about their kids with one another. These services are typically offered online and through mobile apps. Programs such as Our Family Wizard and others provide parents with numerous resources to help facilitate positive co-parenting and effective communication regarding their kids.

Using a Third-Party Communication Service

Using a third-party communication service may help with co-parenting by:

  • Giving parents a neutral forum on which to exchange information and make arrangements for their children,
  • Helping clarify communication, and
  • Providing a centralized platform where parents can keep a record of what was said and when.

You and your ex may have been calling each other, texting, or using instant messaging and email to communicate. There is room for miscommunication in all of these contexts. For example, you and your former spouse may have phone conversations where you misunderstand essential information about your kids. It may also be that your ex tends to be deliberately cryptic in their texts or messaging. These and other communication problems can quickly become conflicts.

When you exchange information through a third-party service, your messages will be recorded in a central location so there can be no dispute about what was said. You can also use the service’s calendaring features to establish a clear custody schedule with unambiguous terms for both parents to follow.

Should I Agree to Use a Third-Party Communication Service?

There can be positive aspects of using these services. However, they are not always necessary or beneficial. Additionally, parties have to pay a service fee for their use. If you are considering using a third-party communication service, you should discuss the pros and cons with an experienced California child custody attorney.

Establishing Your Legal and Physical Custody Orders

Not every parent will need a third-party communication service to co-parent. However, they will need legal and physical custody orders. Having comprehensive and specific custodial orders can greatly improve the chances of parents developing a positive co-parenting dynamic. Additionally, when parents have well-thought-out custody terms, it can help them avoid misunderstanding and potential conflict. During your divorce, you and your attorney can develop custody terms that support your kids and your co-parenting relationship.

Third-Party Services v. Changing Your Custody Orders

It may also be that parents are struggling with co-parenting after the divorce because of external factors. For instance, one parent may have remarried or moved. It may also be that the kids are getting older and have changing needs. In these and other circumstances, you and your ex may need to consider changing your custody orders rather than adding a third-party communication service.

If you, your ex’s, or your kid’s circumstances have significantly changed since the divorce, you should talk with an experienced child custody attorney. Your counsel can help you evaluate the situation and determine the best options for you and your kids.

Contact a California Child Custody Attorney

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are experienced California family law attorneys who can answer your questions about third-party communication services and other child-custody-related matters. We assist clients along California’s Northern to Southern Coast, including San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Marin, San Jose, Gold River, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities. Call us at 415-293-8314 to schedule a private appointment or visit our website.






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