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  • Writer's pictureTeresa Prescott

Talk Can Be Cheap - Communication Platforms the New Norm in High Conflict Cases

Updated: Oct 22, 2018

When first entertaining the notion of using social media type-of-message boards as a productive form of communication in high-conflict custody cases, my initial knee jerk reaction was the ignorant response, “well, isn’t this counter-productive?” Seemingly, the many hiccups of inter-parental conflicts stem from communication deficiencies – that is, the inability of the parties to effectively communicate with one another. Thus, why promote two parents in which seemingly share snowballing disdain for one another to communicate at an even further distance?

The answer is simple. If you are here, reading this right now, it is likely that your spouse’s constant differing of opinions, driven by legitimate emotions, have translated communications into pure cognitive distortion. Or, in other words, if you think you’re going to have a thoughtful discussion with someone who is, at this juncture, quite venomous, be prepared for a cyclical marathon of quarrel.

So, how do you go about reaching conversational mindfulness? How do you communicate with someone who can’t communicate? Converse through a court-monitored communication platform. Yes, I said [potentially] court monitored.

Communication platforms such as Our Family Wizard or Talking Parents are software specifically designed to help two parents communicate in high-conflict situations.

Although seemingly invasive, and perhaps an arguable regression of language, court-monitored platforms reduce hostility by implementing tools such Tone-O-Meters (which prohibit the use of profanity or emotionally charged sentences), as well as “read receipts” resulting in parents more timely responding to any concerns or questions. Beyond that, however, the old “Big Brother syndrome” kicks in, knowing that your judge can log in and monitor your communications at any time. What does this mean? It means that both parents will be on their absolute best behavior. Sensibly, of course, this translates into better communication – be it forced or not. Indisputably, better communication leads to a restoration of enhanced co-parenting.

Do you have to file a court action to utilize these platforms? Not at all. You and your former companion can simply sign up on your own volition.

While communication platforms such as Talking Parents and Our Family Wizard are certainly not the catch-all conclusion to repair marred communiqué, it can be utilized as an effective and initial tool to help re-teach the foundations of productive communication.

Remember, however, written communication can be taxing, especially in the experimentation stage of these platforms. Thus, always be cognizant of your tone and punctuations, continually avoiding excessive use of dramatic punctuation.

If you believe that your high-conflict or child custody situation warrants use of a platform communication, or if you are having issues effectively communicating with your ex, contact a family law attorney who can help guide you on how to effectively use, and implement these tools into your court action or else your daily routine .

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