Co-Parenting in the Wake of Divorce

sailingCouples are always eager to be “done” with their divorce. Getting the court documents signed and the divorce finalized is the end goal, and clients often think it will be smooth sailing for them after that. However, when the divorce is final, there is something called the new normal that clients have to navigate, especially when it comes to their parenting. Co-parenting is more complicated when parents are no longer cohabiting, and this is a big adjustment for everyone following a divorce. Co-parents may no longer be living together or joined in matrimony, but they are in the same boat as far as raising their kids. Because of this, communicating and cooperating are very important. Instead of treating their co-parent like they would like them to abandon ship or walk the plank post-divorce, the attitude needs to be “all hands on deck” between co-parents. Diligently communicating and cooperating will give co-parents much more control over the course their children’s lives will take. Even in the best of circumstances, of course, children can try to get what they want by playing their parents against each other. Little mutineers usually sound something like this: “Dad/Mom says I can…”, and if no fact checking is done on behalf of the co-parent that isn’t around to confirm what she or he did indeed say, the child gets what he or she wants. Critical information can go missing or be seriously altered if children are used as a courier in adult conversations. Avoiding this situation is possible, but requires that co-parents actively cooperate and communicate. Co-parents that work together this way post-divorce can divide and conquer when it comes to life’s challenges, and keep their family buoyant in any stormy waters that come in life.

– Audra A. Holbeck

The “X” Files

When I heard “The X Files” was coming back for six episodes, I was thrilled!  What other show gives you supernatural, psychological, political, legal, medical, and alien content wrapped into one?  The show ended when I was a new lawyer; that is, when cell phones weren’t smart; Monica, Phoebe, Rachel, Ross, Chandler, and Joey were screen friends; e-mail was barely a blip on the screen; and tweeting was simply the sound birds make.  I remember thinking how cool Mulder was when he whipped out his Nokia flip phone (the “it” phone of the new millennium, right?) to call Scully.  After all, he couldn’t send her a text.  A text was something we read not something we did back in 2000.  But now, in these new episodes Scully can see…on her smart phone…when Mulder is calling her.  And Mulder can take pictures of the monsters and aliens on his phone.  Technology has definitely changed in the past 16 years.  We will see if any of these devices help the agents in their quest to find the truth!

Unfortunately, devices that make life easier can make life more complicated.  I can’t tell you how many clients have told me they or their spouse “reunited” with a past love-interest on Facebook, or an affair was discovered in an e-mail or text.  If this has happened to you, you aren’t alone.  Social media and technology have certainly made the world smaller by reuniting people or keeping them connected.  But some argue technology is making us less social.  Kids text instead of talk to their friends.  Relationships end via e-mail.  Technology should enhance communication, not hinder it.  Hopefully, human beings won’t evolve into a life form where kindness, sensitivity, and compassion aren’t valued.  Or perhaps that’s part of Mulder’s whole conspiracy theory.  The truth IS out there…somewhere…

– Audra Holbeck

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