The Art of Communicating
Hello there! Welcome back to Scarlette’s column, ‘The Divorce Whisper.’ I’m always so happy when you stop by.
Today’s focus is on a topic that gets a lot of attention and much debate: communication. And not just any communication. But the kind that you will or already have after a parenting plan has been put into place, drop off and pick-ups have been scheduled, and so have holiday schedules. How do you stay in touch? How do you want to stay in touch? Do you even have to see each other at all to talk? I’ll get into these questions and more in a moment. Let’s get started!
I can truly understand not wanting to talk to or see your ex-spouse. I have felt the same way. Those dreadful feelings that make you not look forward to seeing him or her. But you still have to somehow communicate. I understand that in this day and age, we’re big texters. We love our phones to do that. Long gone are the days when someone actually picks up a phone. And that’s with any type of relationship! Let me share what has truly worked for me.
The cool part about what I want to share with you, requires no spoken word, no phone calls, no in-person meet ups. One small caveat is, if you have young children, you may have to see each other during drop offs and pick-ups at the house, but only briefly. Older children, not so much, especially if you have teens. You simply can say, ‘have a great night, see you tomorrow.’ I make sure the kiddo goes inside, safe and sound.
We don’t use any fancy apps or devices. We just keep it simple. If you do have multiple children, then perhaps a shared Google calendar or any type of shared calendar can work. But what I’ve been using with the family is Signal. I know most of you have heard of it or are using it now. The way I use it is we have one group chat to include all of us. We only use it to let everyone know, “On my way to pick up,” or “I got out of work early so I’m picking you up instead of mom.” As you can tell, this is for older kids who have phones, but I know of kids as young as 7 that have them. Kids are so smart these days! We also use it to share screenshots of grades, emails and anything we need to share so everyone is on the same page. Then there’s a regular chat with just the ex. This is because there are certain adult matters kids don’t need to get involved in like taxes, or if we need to discuss any issues about discipline decisions, even letting the ex-spouse know, “don’t forget the alimony check.” On a side note, this is how we prefer those payments, and the kiddo hands it to me when I drop him off at his dad’s. Then I have one for kids only for private chats of concerns because sometimes they, ‘just want to speak to mom.’
I haven’t seen the ex in almost a year because everything that needs to be communicated is through the Signal app and I’ve been quite content with it, and it works for us. This may or may not work for you but it’s an option. Or maybe you’re already doing that so you’re happy that what you’re doing is fantastic!
I will say, if you would prefer something a little more technical, there are tons of apps out there like: Talking Parents, Our Family Wizard and Two Houses. Just Google, ‘Parenting apps for divorced parents,’ and you will see countless ones out there. I had the pleasure of listening to a presentation about these apps at a recent convention and they do sound interesting and helpful. I will say, the free versions are nice but don’t offer much. The paid ones do, but it’s at a cost and you’ll have to decide if it’s something you are able and willing to pay for.
Please feel free to contact us for a free consultation about Colorado Springs divorce, child custody and family law at 719-344-5523.