Legal Blog

The Role of Technology in Co-Parenting

smart phoneFor parents, maintaining open lines of communication during and after a divorce is extremely important for all parties involved. This means that parent-to-parent communication and parent-to-child communication must be preserved and encouraged. These days, it’s nearly impossible not to be connected to others, given the availability of email, text messaging, Twitter, and Facebook.

The advantages and drawbacks of technology are ever present in co-parenting issues. One concern is that people are often quick to hit “send” without considering the consequences of a technological rant.  Once sent, you cannot take that message back. Many find it easier to rant when doing so behind the screen of a computer or another device, rather than having to face the person with whom you are displeased.

Social media sites now make it possible to easily take your dispute public. There is a lot of information available on Facebook, Twitter, and other sites. Information, that you may not have wanted to publicly convey, is easily attainable by your former spouse and/or your children. Assume there is no such thing as a secret or even privacy, and act accordingly as you and your former spouse co-parent your children.

Along with these areas of caution, the following are a few benefits of utilizing technology when co-parenting after divorce:

  1. You have flexibility in terms of time and scheduling. Online and mobile calendars and planners make creating appointments and events more efficient. Calendars and note taking applications can clarify activities and responsibilities, and parents can update one another instantly. Shared calendars enable both parents and even the child to participate in the planning, and to always know what is on the schedule.
  2. Many report feeling less stress than with face-to-face interactions. Technology makes it very easy to communicate or confirm a date or time or event, without the opportunity for introducing emotion. For better or for worse, the use of computers and smart phones has made it entirely possible to communicate regularly with other people without ever seeing them in person.
  3. Parents can communicate independently with older children. Having their own phones and email accounts makes it easier to contact them directly without having to use the other parent as a go-between. For long distance issues, Skype can provide access for effective instantaneous communication.
  4. You can easily document your communication. What is said can be captured and saved for future reference. In the event that a change is made to an existing written agreement, for a time or date, parents can immediately document the minor modification through the existence of communications confirming that revision.

For all of the benefits of using technology in co-parenting, it is important to note that technology is not the best vehicle for discussion.  We have seen many communications back and forth that are just not on the same plane. Some issues are not conducive to being vetted through technology, since they require an immediate back and forth, along with detailed clarification to be productive. In short, technology should not be a substitute for all co-parenting communications, but it can certainly aide and improve the process when utilized with discernment and consideration.

For more information and advice about divorce and other family law issues, contact Linda Sorg Ostovitz at (301) 575-0381 or email lostovitz@offitkurman.com.

ABOUT LINDA SORG OSTOVITZ

Linda OstovitzLinda Sorg Ostovitz is a family law attorney. Her legal experience spans more than 34 years. In this time, she has served as a leader, educator and advocate. Mrs. Ostovitz holds a prestigious fellowship in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Currently, she serves as President for the Business Women’s Network of Howard County, by which she was chosen Woman of Distinction for 2014. Mrs. Ostovitz represents clients in Howard, Anne Arundel, Carroll and Baltimore Counties. Her practice focuses exclusively on divorce litigation and mediation, child custody and access, child support, alimony, business valuation, as well as property and asset distribution. In addition to providing legal representation in court, Mrs. Ostovitz provides mediation services to help families come to a fair and legally-sound conclusion outside of the traditional court proceedings.

ABOUT OFFIT KURMAN

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