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Your kids aren't messengers: There are other options

Children are sensitive to divorce and changes in their lives. The last thing any parent should do is put them in the middle of a conflict. Unfortunately, some parents do this by having their children inform their other parent about activities or thoughts that they have.

Even if it's something as simple as, "Mom told me to tell you she can't pick me up next week," it's a problem. Children should never be the messenger in divorce, especially with situations where it could negatively affect or frustrate the other parent.

If you can't use your children to inform the other parent of changes to custody or to give them other messages, what can you do?

There are lots of options for communicating without getting your children involved. One of the best ways to talk is to update each other with emails or letters, since these are on paper and easy to refer to if you ever need to do so.

Another option is to communicate through text or voicemails. Similar to the above, it's easy when you can refer back to the statements you made, so that you can plan or use the documentation in court if you have to in the future.

While some parents might send a letter or sticky note with information back home with their children, it's usually better to hand it off directly. The goal is to avoid having your children know about any conflicts you might have. You don't want to end up having them associated with giving the other parent bad news, either.

Should you communicate on the phone or in person?

If you have a comfortable relationship with your child's other parent, then talking in person might be a no brainer. Not everyone can interact without conflict, so your mileage may vary with this technique. One reason to avoid bringing up important things in person is that there is no paper trail.

If you do plan to discuss changes in custody, bring a document with you as well, so the parent can get a paper copy of a new schedule or request. It's an easy way to avoid conflicts as a result of forgotten changes and to prove that the other parent received written notice of requests.

Copy any requests you make or save them, so you can use them if there is ever a custody dispute in court. This is a great benefit for you if the need arises.

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