So the time has unfortunately come, you have separated from your partner and you are trying to work out what happens with the children.
The best advice that we can provide to you is to try to keep communication open with your ex-partner when it comes to the children. Even though your relationship has ended you will be the parents of these children for the rest of their lives. Many parents are unable to communicate and will parallel parent – that is parent separately with little or no communication. We have included a few suggestions of how to communicate following separation and manage your relationship with your ex-spouse, and some tips of not what to do!
If you are unable to communicate, please use a communication book. However make sure that all communication in the communication book is about the children solely, such as any issues with the children; details of their parent/ teacher interview and extra curricular activities or health concerns. Do not use the communication book to have a go at the other parent under any circumstances. We suggest that you label each page of the communication book and before you return the communication book take a photocopy of your page of the communication book and the other person’s notes. It is amazing how many communication books seem to have legs and get lost and it is important to have a record of the entries in the communication book.
Do not use your facebook page, twitter account, instagram account or any other social networking sites to write comments about the breakdown of your relationship, your ex-spouse or your financial position. This is private information and no matter what your privacy settings are, it becomes public information once you place it on these sites and can be used against you in Court proceedings, to assist in a defamation case against you or for obtaining an Intervention Order.
Many children’s orders will include clauses that the parties are not able to denigrate the other party in front of the children. You are both parents of these children and the paramount consideration of the Courts is that it is in the best interests of the children to have a relationship with both of you. If you would like to discuss your court proceedings or the breakdown of your relationship, do not do this with your children or within their hearing.
Do not use SMSes and emails to abuse your ex-partner or harass them. Anything you put in writing could be used against you later. Keep all communication general and children specific. If you need to raise an issue or concern, possibly show the SMS or email to another person or your Lawyer before you send it, so they can filter any negativity or abuse.
It is easy to become angry and fire off an SMS or email in response to a comment made by the other person, but take a breath if you receive such an SMS or email, and wait a while until you cool down to send an SMS or email.
Many heat of the moment responses result in Intervention Order applications which further complicate your case.