As touched on in our previous post, it’s now far more common for divorced parents to share both legal custody — meaning shared authority/responsibility for making major decisions regarding the welfare of their child (education, healthcare, religion, etc.) — and physical custody.
This represents a seismic shift from just a few decades ago when mothers were typically awarded primary physical custody, and fathers were relegated to visitation on weekends and a few holidays.
“In the ’80s, you used to see Dad on Sundays and get a Happy Meal and an ice cream cone,” said one New York-based divorce attorney. “Now it’s all gender-neutral, and the parents each get spheres of influence. You put together what’s called an ‘access schedule,’ and ‘parenting coordinators’ help figure it all out.”
Of course, with this relatively new paradigm, comes the need for more regular communication among parents, something that can prove to be especially difficult if their divorce was painful and/or embittering.
For example, always having to talk to a former spouse on the telephone to arrange custody drop-offs/pick-ups or discuss alterations to a schedule, can naturally result in angry exchanges and bad feelings.
Fortunately, experts indicate that the technological advancements that we now take for granted — the Internet, text messages, emailing — have all served to largely eliminate these problems and make joint custody arrangements far more manageable for both parties.
“People don’t want to talk to their exes because just the sound of their voice is irritating,” said Randy Kessler, chairperson of the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association. “But they can e-mail. They can share an online calendar. They can use any number of resources on the Internet. There are even divorce apps.”
Indeed, divorced parents in today’s modern world can eliminate unnecessary strife by confining the majority of their communications to basic electronic communication. More importantly, they can spare themselves and their children from potentially traumatic arguments that do far more harm than good.
Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …
To learn more about dissolution of marriage, spousal support or parental rights, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.
This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
The New York Times, “Kramer.com vs. Kramer.com,” Pamela Paul, Nov. 23, 2012