Joint Decision Making and Communication

Posted By Jorgensen, Brownell & Pepin, P.C.

17 Aug. 2016

When it comes to successful co-parenting and shared decision-making, communication between parents is key. Coordinating schedules and exchanging children isn’t always easy, especially if you and your ex have communication issues. The Courts want you and your ex to be able to resolve as many issues on your own as possible, without needing the Court to intervene.

One way to communicate successfully is to utilize a parenting website or app. There are several websites that are recommended by the Colorado Courts, including the following:

  1. www.talkingparents.com
  2. www.ourfamilywizard.com
  3. www.cofamilies.com
  4. www.handinhandparenting.com
  5. www.jointparents.com
  6. www.parentingtogether.net

Our clients use the following two sites most: Our Family Wizard and TalkingParents. These sites act as messaging services. Both have apps available for both Apple and Android operating systems. They each allow communications to be sorted into conversations by subject. In addition, they both show when the other party views the message.

There are several differences between the two sites. The TalkingParents website is free, but it is only a messaging service. You can purchase a complete copy of your conversations, electronically, for $3.99 or a printed record for $.19 per page plus a $19 processing fee. There is also an option to pay $4.99 per month to print out unlimited records. The TalkingParents app has a one-time charge of $4.99.

Unlike TalkingParents, Our Family Wizard (OFW) charges the parties an annual fee of $99.00 per parent for its use. However, it does provide quite a bit more than TalkingParents. In addition to the messaging, the OFW subscription includes a calendar, an information bank where the parties can store shared files such as immunization records or past medical records, an expense log, and a shared or private journal. OFW also allows the addition of child and “third party” accounts (for attorneys, therapists, nannies, etc.) for free. One of the most notable features of OFW is that it provides a “ToneMeter” as an optional add-on to help the parties recognize emotional or accusatory language before the message is sent. This can be especially beneficial in high-conflict divorces and custody cases.

While both of these websites are great resources, there are certain elements of communication to remember when dealing with the other side regardless of how you chose to communicate. It is always important to provide complete, accurate, and timely information to the other parent and provide them with the information you would expect to receive from them. Parents should remember to use respectful language that is free from name calling and accusations when communicating. Parents need to focus communication on the child’s needs and what is in the best interest of the child rather than the wants of the parent. Most importantly, if a former spouse wouldn’t send a message to their mother or boss, they shouldn’t send it to their ex.

Categories: Divorce, Child Custody
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