Part 1 of 3
Did last year’s co-parenting approach leave you exhausted and defeated? Maybe it is time to re-evaluate how you co-parented last year. While your co-parent may have been the problem, they do not seem to be changing their approach, so how can you change yours to give you, and your children, more peace in the new year? There are a few ways that may allow you and your children to enjoy many more good days this coming year:
1. Back to the Basics
If you have joint custody, go back to the basics of what that means according to Louisiana law. La. R.S.9:336 provides that “Joint custody obligates the parents to exchange information concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child and to confer with one another in exercising decision-making authority.” This means that, even if you don’t want to, you must communicate with one another. This makes the strategy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” technically a violation of Louisiana law if you have joint custody. Further, this also means that BOTH parents must communicate, and it is not just the domiciliary parent who must communicate with the non-domiciliary parent. The obligation is mutual. If you have been operating under a “the less he/she knows the better” strategy, this may be what is causing you heartache.
2. Don’t React
While it is SO very tempting to shoot off a snide comment or an outright insult in response to the same – WAIT. Don’t react immediately to the comments which are meant to incite just such a reaction. It’s simply not a good look and, once you are back in court, it WILL be used against you. Instead, take some time to calm down after an accusatory or hurtful message so you can formulate a proper response, which brings me to…
3. Communicating with High-Conflict People
You may feel like no matter what you have done, the attacks still come. You have attacked back, you have ignored it, you have been sickly-sweet-nice, but none of it is effective. One book I often recommend is BIFF: Quick Responses to High Conflict People, Their Personal Attacks, Hostile Email, and Social Media Meltdowns, by Bill Eddy and its co-parenting version BIFF for CoParent Communication: our Guide to Difficult Texts, Emails, and Social Media Posts by Bill Eddy, Annette Burns, et. al. The Co-parenting version can be found by clicking here. These books help you to respond to those people who thrive on high-conflict situations and allow you to diffuse the conflict and get your message across. For the clients who implement it in their communication with their high-conflict
co-parents, it is a game changer.
In the next part of our three-part series on New Year, New Co-Parenting Approach, we will explore the importance of a judgment, flexibility, and, of course, the golden rule. As always, if you need the help of an experienced family law attorney, don’t hesitate to contact Stanley-Wallace Law at 985-288-4621 so that we may sit down with you and focus on your particular circumstances during a consultation.