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The benefit and downfalls of using technology to co-parent

Texas couples going through a divorce likely use numerous forms of technology to communicate with an ex-spouse. However, a new study reports that some parents who use technology to communicate about child custody issues may manipulate the information or use the medium to ignore the other parent. The professor who conducted the study asserts that although technology can make communication between ex-partners easier, when used improperly it can also bring a great deal of harm to the children caught in the middle after their parents divorce.

Researchers found that co-parenting by using text or email can be successful when used by cooperative parties. However, when such technology is used by parents who don’t get along, attempting to avoid confrontation, they often used texting and email in such a way as to limit and control communication between an ex and their children. While technology can be a valuable tool for couples going through a divorce, it could just as easily be employed as a weapon.

Researchers interviewed 49 divorced parents in the study, and focused on the quality of their relationships was with their exes. Those who were cooperative with each other often used technology as way to coordinate visitation, and sometimes even utilized online calendars to share their children’s schedules. However, those in hostile relationships tended to abuse technology, some even going so far as to claim they never received emails from their exes. Almost all of the couples studied used such technology to establish boundaries and keep electronic records of child custody decisions.

Misusing technology can sometimes place Texas children in the middle of a parental conflict. However, it is important to remember that anytime an email or text is sent, a written record is created which could potentially be used if a child custody case ever goes back to court. Parents who go through divorce and wish to pursue a custody modification may want to save these written records. They could potentially be of great help when attempting to have a child custody agreement changed.

Source: Atlanta Black Star, “Divorced Parents Use Technology to Facilitate Co-Parenting or Control Access to Children,” Aug. 28, 2012

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