Posts Tagged ‘Children and contact’

Co-Parenting arrangements for children

I thought I would share with you an article written by FLIP to help separated couples make contact arrangements for their children. It involves an App called Our Family Wizard.  The article follows:

For many separated parents, finding a system of communication and organisation that enables them to co-parent well is not always straightforward. The system will usually comprise telephone calls, text messages, emails, WhatsApp messages to name but a few. Sometimes the system works well. Other times, it breaks down and can lead to confusion and misunderstandings. So, what can a programme which describes itself as “making co-parenting easier” offer to those parents who feel a little overwhelmed or perhaps in need of some help? Could it be the answer to their communication woes?


Our Family Wizard (OFW) was created by Paul and Dara Volker, a married couple who both have children from previous marriages. After separating from their former partners, it soon transpired that scheduling plans for the holidays (with their former spouses in mind) was something that was causing them some difficulty. They searched the internet to see if there was a (technological) solution that would enable them to communicate more effectively. It became apparent that there was no such thing. Having experienced family breakdown themselves and living with the realities of co-parenting with their former spouses, this gave them the vital insight required to create an innovative programme “to manage, schedule and share information cooperatively and efficiently”.

Whether or not interaction with a former spouse is difficult, the creators realised that centralising information and communication was key. The programme is designed to assist parents in a number of ways but primarily:  setting out schedules for children and their day to day activities, as well as enabling parents to keep track of expenses, appointments (and medical information), and
even a section for children’s clothes sizing so each parent can buy clothing and shoes without difficulty (and without having to ask the other parent for this basic information).
The transparency that comes with such a system would hopefully mean that fewer mistakes are made. It may also reduce, to an extent, the opportunity for conflict. By the same token, the openness of the system allows a parent to keep track of a pattern of non-communication where applicable or indeed the tone of communication that takes place.

The programme is available online where users can sign in or it can be downloaded as an app.

Children deserve more.

Recent publicity of the government’s proposals to enshrine in law the importance of children having a relationship with both parents post separation has resulted in controversy.  This controversy has, in my view, deflected from a debate which is fundamentally important in relation to children’s welfare after a divorce.  

Up and down the country there are many cases where fathers win a court order allowing them contact with their children however they often find it is still impossible as courts do little to ensure that the other parent complies. The new proposals are supposed to make it clear that both parents are equally important in a child’s life.

Despite the change in legislation, it is hugely difficult for a judge to say that a mother thwarting a court order should spend a few days in prison or be fined.  No-one wants to send mothers to prison or impose more financial constraints on a family.  Nor do courts want to take children away from their mothers and place them with their fathers as an antidote to alienation.  By the time children are alienated from their fathers, it may be more emotionally abusive to uproot them from their primary home. 

Where children are lucky enough to have two parents, they should not be stopped from loving and seeing them.  That has to be their inalienable right, with the exception of abusive or violent parents.

Most people recognise that an on-going relationship with both parents is fundamental to the healthy development of a child.  It is the few who don’t that cause untold problems.

Will a law change this? I don’t think so.  We need to change attitudes and the way the courts deal with non-compliance. Something needs to be done to ensure that spending proper time with each parent is what actually happens