Keep a Co-Parenting Communication Log in High Conflict Situations

May 25, 2017


Right now in my law practice I have a few different cases where the two parties, the two parents are extremely high conflict. There is almost no subject that they don't have issues over and that they don't get into an argument about.

As a result of this they are having trouble communicating about
their children when the children are with one parent and then go back to the other parent. Especially this happens like during the flu season, the kids are sick or there is some sort of allergy infection, or the kid needs to go to the doctor. The parties just cannot talk about this stuff.

Communication is really important when you are trying to co-parent with the other parent. I realize though in some cases it's just not possible because of the level of animosity and conflict.

So this is what I suggest to my clients who are dealing with somebody who they're having a hard time talking to. I recommend a communication journal or a communication log that goes back and forth with the children from house to house. It's as simple as going to the drug store or Target and picking up a spiral bound notebook and writing on it 'Communication Journal' or 'Log' for [child's name].

Let's call the child Johnny. So when Johnny is at your house you're going to write in the communication journal anything significant that happens while Johnny is with you. So if Johnny is sick and you've given him some sort of medication that should go in the journal. It would be helpful maybe to let the other parent know what you are feeding Johnny.

If you have a baby that is having trouble with bowel movements, write down did the baby have bowel movements, how many did the baby have and what time these occurred, did the baby drink, etc. You can also write in this communication journal for older children as well. If they are having issues with homework, a certain subject or friends at school or the teacher made a comment about something that happened in class. This is stuff that should go into the communication journal.

What this does is really reduce the need for you and the other parent to have verbal contact or email contact, text contact about what's going on in the life of your child. And it keeps you both up to date. So you may be wondering how far do I need to go in writing this communication journal. Do I need to give a minute-by-minute or hour-by-hour account? It really depends on you but generally speaking I would say that minute-by-minute or hour-by-hour would be a bit much. The purpose of the journal is really just to capture the essence of the major things that are happening so both of you stay informed and you are both communicating without having to actually talk.

This is a good rule of thumb. If there is something that you would want to hear about from the other parent, then you should include it in the communication journal. In closing, if you are going through a high-conflict situation and you are having trouble start with a Communication Journal.


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