How to Email Your Co-parent and Minimize Conflict
Divorced parents need to rely on email to communicate the logistics of running a two home family. Unfortunately, in my work counseling divorced parents, I witness fighting over email more than you would expect! Email arguments are rarely productive because someone can always come up with another counter argument. This serves to fuel conflict and will eventually spill over to the children. My rule of thumb for divorced parents is to treat your co parent like a business partner and make sure your emails respect your business relationship.
Below you will find a protocol for emailing your co parent on the days that the children transition from one parent to another. This helps share information about your time with the children and also communicates time sensitive information. In the example below, the bulleted section are simply FYIs for your co parent, the numbered section are things that require a response.
- Transition Emails should occur after each transition on your schedule
- Emails are no more than ½ a page
- Emails are in Business Format: Greeting, bulleted FYI, numbered responses needed
- Response from other parent is expected within 24 hours
Dear Co-Parent (name),
I wanted to let you know the following things about my time with the kids and some upcoming events:
- Sally had a mild stomach ache both yesterday and today, so that is something to watch out for. She only complained briefly in the morning both days so it could be nerves.
- With rain forecast for this weekend, her soccer games could be cancelled. Please look out for an email from the coach about cancellations on Saturday.
- Both kids slept well during the past two nights, but Liam woke up both nights with a bad dream.
- Sally asked for a play date this weekend with X and she wanted me to tell you since it is your weekend with the kids.
Please respond to the following issues:
- I have a networking event next Sunday at 5pm. Can I drop off the kids to you at 4:30 that day instead of 5?
- Liam has expressed interest in both soccer and karate. Can you talk to him about those activities this weekend and let me know which one I should sign him up for? The deadline is on Tuesday. ,
Dear Co- Parent,
Thanks for the info you sent about their time with you.
Here are my responses to your questions:
- Feel free to drop them off next Sunday at 4:30 pm
- I will talk to Liam about those activities and let you know what I think when I send you my transition email on Monday. I personally lean towards soccer.