We live in an era where the way in which we live would be unrecognisable 20 years ago. Technology is intended to be there to make processes more efficient and to make your life easier. It follows that it should make the separation process easier too. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction though, and sometimes technology can be more trouble than it is worth, which can be deterring.
Below are some examples of innovations which can hopefully help you with navigating the difficulties of separation and keeping up with your children’s lives.
I’ve just separated, what happens next?
Get advice and learn about your options. The internet is a helpful tool, especially if you know what you are looking for. It is no substitute for understanding what your options are for your particular circumstances and taking legal advice, too but is a great place to start.
Finding a solicitor, mediators, therapist or barrister to speak to has never been easier. You do not have to just Google your local family solicitors, and more detailed information is available online through professional bodies and organisations (like Resolution whose members are committed to taking an amicable approach) or legal directories such as Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500, where you can see detailed reviews and rankings of lawyers to help you find the right fit for you.
These sources also have a lot of helpful online resources that can help you with various issues you are facing in your separation, as well as helping you source the best legal adviser for your case.
Life is as busy as ever. With the damage of Covid there have been some silver linings. One of those is improving remote working and online meetings. Legal advice is more accessible than ever and meetings with solicitors or mediation can take place by video using platforms such as Teams, Facetime, Zoom etc.
How are the children going to cope?
In the 2011 census, one third of children in England and Wales came from families with separated parents. There is more pastoral support in school now, and support through child consultants or family therapists is far more integrated into the way lawyers work too. They can work with the parents to aid communication and with the children.
All children cope with separating parents in different ways. There are however many other children who may have experienced similar emotions which may resonate with your children and help them cope. There are a variety of videos online which children may want to watch in their own time or with you.
Depending on what arrangements the parents make, they could be going a long time without seeing the children. Video calling or sending a video or voice message is common place and is easily accessible on mobile devices using programs like Facetime or WhatsApp. Using technology and messaging well and on a child’s level can help keep them engaged in communicating with both parents all the time.
It was hard enough to parent and keep track of arrangements when we were in one house, how do we manage it now we are in separate homes?
Many parents find it extremely difficult to communicate with each other, plan and make joint decisions once they are no longer living under the same roof.
Whilst telephone, email, text message or WhatsApp may work for many parents, others may benefit from a more bespoke tool to help them communicate. There has been an emergence of on-line co-parenting tools in recent years that are specifically designed to provide solutions for separated (or just very busy) families. Some of the options available include Our Family Wizard, Cozi, 2houses and Talking Parents.
Most of these tools can be accessed through apps, as well as through a website, and are synced electronically between both parents. Most of the tools have some form of subscription charge. Some of the features available include:
- shared calendars;
- journals, including the capacity to check in via GPS;
- expense logs;
- data bank to store important information regarding a child’s education, health etc;
- message facilities, which log when messages are sent, when they are read, and can be downloaded. Some tools even have programs to identify and prevent confrontational language;
- live ‘to-do’ lists for daily tasks;
- facility to store and share pictures of the children with each parent;
- scheduler to work out options for sharing time between parents, and to help swap or change dates with the other parent.
These are just some of the numerous advances and technological tools now available to help families navigate the difficulties that family change brings with it.
For further advice or to book a consultation, get in touch with us https://goodmanray.com/contact-us/
Thomas Brownrigg / Hannah Lamb
Partner / Trainee Solicitor