Co-parenting can be a challenge, and ongoing communication and cooperation between parents can make it easier to manage. However, conflict and miscommunication make it more difficult for co-parents to work together effectively. Even if they recognize that they cannot speak calmly face-to-face or by phone, lengthy emails and vague text messages often keep the friction going.

For example, a parent may send an email that includes multiple requests for things like schedule changes and expense reimbursements, but the important facts get lost in the paragraphs of emotional commentary. This can make it hard for the receiving parent to focus on and respond to just the requests. Rather than letting information become unclear, co-parents who can communicate clearly and make information accessible in both homes may be able to avoid conflict and costly setbacks.

As a way to help reach this point, many co-parents turn to alternative tools for communication. Several web-based tools exist which help co-parents to thoroughly document and organize their communication and help them get straight to the facts. Some of these tools only provide co-parents with one capability like messaging, but replacing long, unfocused emails with long, unfocused messages isn’t really a solution to make communication clearer. Co-parents who regularly face problems with messaging may have more success in communicating if they use other tools to share information.

One set of online communication tools for co-parents that does more than provide messaging can be found on the OurFamilyWizard® website. This suite of web and mobile-based tools provides co-parents with a variety of features for scheduling and track parenting time, log expenses and facilitate reimbursements, sharing documents and other information, and more. Its features are equipped with templates that prompt each parent for complete and timely information, which helps co-parents to continuously update each other with the relevant facts having to do with their children.

OurFamilyWizard® tools can help get co-parents out of the habit of messaging by offering several other easy-to-use features to help break down requests and other information to just the hard facts. However, there may be cases where some information must be shared in long form. If a parent does need to send a message, they can use ToneMeter to analyze the content of their message for emotionally charged content. This gives the parent a chance to recognize where the tone of their message could be received negatively and allows them to adjust their tone before sending.

Using one central zone for communication also makes it easier for co-parents to share their activity with counsel, if necessary. Using online co-parenting tools like OurFamilyWizard®, both parents have access to accurate, print-ready reports. Plus, parents have the option to link their attorney or other professionals working with their family to oversee the communications on the website. Even so, co-parents who can communicate clearly may be able to avoid constant conflict that requires attorney intervention or return trips to court.

No matter how co-parents feel about each other, shared parenting is a responsibility that should be managed with care. Maintaining clear communication and reducing conflict are two positive co-parenting goals, and using the right communication tools can support these objectives.