So…is technology making co-parenting easier?
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Arguably, one of the biggest factors for the breakdown of a relationship is a breakdown in communication. So when parties can no longer communicate and end up before the Family Court, how do they constructively and appropriately communicate in the best interests of their children? Lawyers and the Family Court judges appear to be reaching to technology to find the answer.
There is no doubt that communication is the key to co-parenting, as is true for any functioning adult relationship. Despite best intentions, factors such as emotions, stress, work, competing parenting styles and expectations, means communication is not always helpful or clear after parties have separated. Good communication is more than just being able to speak civilly to the other parent. With the today’s pace of daily life, it is important now more than ever, that both parents are kept in the loop about school, commitments, activities and even expenses that are shared and easily accessible.
Given our phones these days are always within reach; the Family Court is now readily ordering parties to utilise applications such as:
- OurFamily Wizard;
- Cozi; and
The above applications include end-to-end encryption, profanity filters and ‘advice’ on how to communicate appropriately. Unfortunately, as family lawyers we see every day that no matter the consequences, parties to litigation still seem to struggle to communicate civilly and that can have a big impact on the outcome of parenting cases. This is particularly in cases where one party simply can’t help but be awful – always remember think before ever putting anything in text form and don’t go tit for tat. Whilst you may not make friends with honey when it comes to your ex, you do when it comes to the court room.
Whatever your opinion about the necessity of such applications, they are clearly being utilised by parties and the court in an attempt to help litigants just ‘get on’. If an application can assist we entirely encourage parties to utilise whatever means necessary to act in the best interests of their children. However, some may find such tools intrusive and question their utility if the other party simply uses the tool as a means of collating evidence against the other parent. As such, we always recommend “bringing back the BIFF” rule. That is that all communication should be Brief, Informative, Firm and Friendly. This will help keep communication on track and at the end of the day, assist in creating a smoother journey for your children