High Conflict Co-Parenting

Families can't thrive after a divorce if conflict defines interactions between parents.

Combat conflict with the tools on OurFamilyWizard

Thousands of families across the United States and Canada, as well as around the world, are using OurFamilyWizard® to help alleviate the financial and emotional toll of high-conflict parenting.

Using OurFamilyWizard®, parents are able to coordinate schedules, share documents, submit parenting time modification requests, and document shared expenses and reimbursements, all without having to involve an attorney as an intermediary.

The Steep Costs of High-Conflict Co-Parenting

When parents cannot communicate productively due to conflict, even seemingly simple discussions can end up costing families time and money.

Rather than interact directly, co-parents in high-conflict relationships often resort to communicating through attorneys and other family law practitioners. Every conversation—whether about scheduling changes, expenses, or schooling decisions—has the potential to cost hundreds of dollars when this is the case. 

That's in part because discussions are rarely resolved through a single request sent to a co-parent's attorney. Multiple phone calls between parents and their attorneys, as well as between the attorneys themselves, are necessary to handle requests, counteroffers, and clarification questions. Every single one of these points of contact can lead to mounting attorney fees. 

Conversations initiated through and mediated by attorneys not only take funds, they also lengthen the time needed to resolve issues. For time-sensitive topics, such as parenting time modification requests, that delay in resolution only increases the potential for conflict and friction between co-parents.

Conflict has far-reaching consequences and can deeply affect the strength of family ties. Stability is hard to achieve for families with high-conflict relationships, and that can take a severe emotional toll on both parents and children. Especially after a divorce or separation, children need consistency and reliability. They need to be able to count on both of their parents to raise them in a healthy environment. Conflict works in direct opposition to that need. 

Despite these challenges, parents can reduce conflict with help from specialized tools and strategies.

Overcome Conflict with the Right Tools

Conflict can have many sources, but one primary cause is miscommunication. As conflict blooms, communication between co-parents can become increasingly sparse, leading to further misunderstandings. It's a vicious cycle that, without the right tools, can be very difficult to escape. 

OurFamilyWizard, as a secure and central platform for co-parenting communication, combats this source of conflict from the onset. 

Particularly sensitive subjects, such as parenting time modification requests or shared expense reimbursements, may never be simple. But they can be easier to approach with tools that remove emotion from the equation. 

Parenting Time Modification Requests

The Trade/Swap™ feature on OurFamilyWizard is one such tool. Negotiating one-time changes to parenting schedules in email or text threads can be unproductive as those requests can quickly be lost amidst numerous other questions and sidebars. Instead, parents can simply use the Trade/Swap™ tool on OFW to submit and respond to parenting time modification requests. The Trade/Swap™ feature keeps these important discussions separate from any other distractions.

One-time changes to parenting schedules can be a fraught subject, so being able to reliably look at past requests and responses is vital when mitigating conflict. With the Trade/Swap™ tool, parents can easily review the history of parenting time modification requests whenever needed. And because OFW records cannot be manipulated, parents can be confident that the information they have is both complete and correct.

Shared Parenting Expenses

Money is another topic that needs the full attention of parents, yet it may be one of the hardest to broach. Of the many aspects of parenting plans, the distribution of financial responsibility between parents may be the greatest source of resentment and friction. That makes approaching conversations about doctor's bills and extracurricular activity fees all the more difficult.

If text messages or emails are used to communicate details about shared parenting expenses, it's all too easy for conversations to devolve into yet another argument. That's because the freeform nature of those communication platforms allow parents to be sidetracked by other concerns. When conversations are not restricted to just the facts, conflict has room to grow. 

To combat this, the OurFamilyWizard Expense Log provides parents with templates that only allow for the most salient details to be shared. Using the expense log, parents can streamline conversations about shared expenses. 

Additionally, by using OFWpay™ to send payments, reimbursement records are concrete and cannot be manipulated by either parent. When used as a complete solution, from submitting reimbursement requests to processing payments between parents, the OurFamilyWizard Expense Log keeps all money matters focused on the facts.

OFW Professional Access

In high-conflict situations, parents may still prefer that their family law or mental health practitioners have access to their communication with their co-parent.

Families working with neutral, third-party professionals can benefit greatly from OurFamilyWizard's professional access feature. With the ability to oversee communication, as well as assist parents in creating parenting schedules and expense categories, neutral professionals have the access they need to aid parents in working cooperatively.

Practitioners such as guardians ad litem, parenting coordinators, and mediators will be able to help families more thoroughly by being privy to complete communication histories between parents. Access to these complete records reduces the prevalence of He Said/She Said contradictions. That means practitioners spend less time determining who is telling the truth and more time on helping parents find a way to move beyond conflict.

Professional access for attorneys can be useful for co-parents as well. With the help of the tools on OurFamilyWizard, parents may no longer be using attorneys as intermediaries; however, in case parents do need to return to court, professional access through OFW simplifies the gathering of documentation.

Returning to court after using phone calls, text messages, and emails for co-parenting communication can be overwhelming, not to mention costly. In order to gather all required records, parents and their professionals must sift through thousands of messages spread out across numerous platforms. 

Instead, OurFamilyWizard keeps records centralized and organized. Additionally, professional access on OFW allows lawyers to gather all necessary documentation from a client's account directly.

Healing Communication Habits with OFW

Using the same old methods of communication that do nothing to combat conflict is not an effective, long-term strategy. If caught in a cycle of high-conflict parenting, breaking free often requires transforming how situations are approached.

OurFamilyWizard can aid in that transformation by providing parents with tools specifically designed to reduce miscommunication when co-parenting after a divorce or separation. Staying informed and apprised of all vital details about their children is essential for parents trying to reduce conflict. When fully informed, parents can put their focus on their children, rather than on disagreements, and make decisions that work for the entire family.

The ultimate reason for healing co-parenting communication isn't saving time or money, though those are additional benefits to doing so. The real motivation for eliminating co-parenting conflict is to be able to raise children in a happy and healthy environment. Conflict damages a family's ability to create strong emotional ties to one another, and those ties are essential for children's acclimation to life after a divorce or separation. 

When in the thick of it, overcoming conflict can feel impossible. But with OurFamilyWizard, co-parents can stabilize their communication and rise above old disagreements and misunderstandings, ensuring their shared parenting remains positive and productive for years to come. 

Eliminate Co-Parenting Conflict

with the help of OurFamilyWizard