Co-Parenting Convos: Creating a Space for Communication.
In our current pandemic-conscious world, it’s on our minds to create intentional spaces in our homes for work, play, exercise, meditation/prayer, sleep, and more. But have you ever thought about how to create a space in your home for your child to meaningfully cultivate their relationship with your co-parent/co-caretaker? This week’s “Co-Parenting Convo” will help you to do just that!
Many co-parents/co-caretakers can often overlook the importance of their child having a safe and comfortable environment for communicating with the non-custodial parent/caretaker (for our purposes, non-custodial simply means, the party not caring for the child at any given time). Actions that can inhibit your child’s communication time can range from the most obvious of ensuring that the child isn’t feeling “coached” into saying or responding on a parent’s behalf in a certain way, to the not-so-obvious ensuring the child feels comfortable requesting and having the ability to speak with the non-custodial parent/caretaker when they please.
If you’ve never considered this topic, we have two tips help to get you started.
Make sure your child has a quiet place to communicate. If people are walking in and out, talking, or watching tv in the same area your child is expected to communicate with their parent/caretaker, you should either turn the tv off, stop talking, or move the child to a quieter area. Your child should be allowed to be distraction free.
Make sure that your child can have a conversation with their parent/caretaker without any third-party interruption. So, what does this look like? Well, it can look like you eavesdropping on the conversation, standing behind the screen and coaching your child on what to say, or using your child as the go-between for adult discussions. All that is to say, just let your child have some age-appropriate privacy.
Now, there are situations where either a court order or safety concerns may play into why these tips aren’t appropriate. If that’s the case, you should consult with us immediately to decide how to protect your child; however, for most, it’s just that they hadn’t considered this to be a “thing.” If you’re in Virginia, however, it is important to note that your ability to cultivate and encourage the relationship between your child and their parent/caretaker is a Best Interest of the Child Factor in the Code of Virginia (you can read more here). If you ever face a contested custody and/or visitation matter in a Virginia court, the judge will have to consider, among other factors, your ability to encourage your child and your co-parent/co-caretaker’s relationship. So, why not start with ensuring there is a quiet and comfortable space for them to communicate.
As we say, if you’d want it for yourself, you should make sure you’re doing it for the other parent/caretaker, too!
Stay up to date with our “Co-Parenting Convos” by subscribing to our social media platforms and blog. If you need help with your custody and visitation/parenting time matter, or to discuss any co-parenting/co-caretaker issues, our experienced family law attorneys at Morris Williams LLC are here to help! Contact us today to schedule a consultation by calling (757) 226-9425 or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.