When there are challenges around communication while co-parenting after divorce or separation, a parenting plan, either court ordered or by parental agreement, can structure the ways in which co-parents will communicate about their child. Including communication terms in a parenting plan can help to deescalate conflict, decrease misunderstandings, ensure that both parents have access to vital information, and insulate children from exposure to adult conflict.
Although you can’t predict what will happen in custody cases, you should draft standard language in custody agreements and court orders that will address common problems that arise in joint legal and physical custody situations. Doing so will help align parental expectations and minimize conflict for children.
The transition from an intimate partnership in which the parents share a personal relationship to the more distant co-parent relationship is difficult for many people to manage. Despite its prevalence—consider the many Hollywood co-parenting scenarios—there are few social norms and cues to help parents who are living apart. The difficulty is compounded because often each parent has different preferences and expectations for co-parenting.