How to Use a Co-Parenting Journal

Divorced? Juggling a complex co-parenting arrangement with your ex? You might find this guest post helpful. Written by Tim Backes with Custody X Change, a co-parenting scheduling software solution, Tim show-cases some of the simple, do-able ideas his software company offers parents. I don’t usually talk about products in my blog (and please know I’m neither promoting, nor profiting in any way from, this post), but given the number of my clients who are stressing over some variation of shared custody on top of their already hectic lives, I thought this resource may be of use to some families. You can read about creating a co-parenting journal below. I also love their Mindful Co-Parenting Guide

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When you’ve done everything possible but divorce is imminent, it’s time to start planning for your post-divorce life. If you have a child, that means you need a parenting plan and custody schedule.

While you might be able to get away with a very simple calendar template and schedule, you’ll most likely want something a little more thorough. Luckily, there are child custody software solutions to help you do just that.

3 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Journal

Your co-parenting journal is only as good as you make it. If you follow these three tips, your journal will become a useful resource.

Be Diligent

The name of the game with co-parenting journals is consistency and diligence. Make your journaling routine. Think of it less like a journal and more like a report you would submit to a supervisor at work.

You should make an entry both before and after every exchange. Keep detailed records about your spouse’s timeliness and your child’s mood. Store every email and text you exchange with your ex.

The main idea here is to document anything and everything, and not to only record something when you are angry or think there’s a problem.

Even if something seems minor and unimportant at the time, record it. It may be the beginning of a long-term pattern that will only become clear after more time passes.

Here is a sample of the sorts of things worth documenting, taken from Custody X Change’s free content, found here:

Screen shot 2017-04-06 at 1.32.03 PM

Be Honest

Yes, even in co-parenting journals, honesty is the best policy. While it might be difficult to leave bias out of your journal entries, in the long run, it will only serve you and your child’s best interests.

That’s why the first point about being diligent is important. If you include all of your text-based communication with your ex and not just communication you feel make you look good or make your spouse look bad, you cannot be accused later of only presenting biased information.

Additionally, by being as honest and forthcoming as possible, you or a professional involved with your custody case will more easily be able to see how your child is adjusting to this new life, which is the most important part of the entire process.

Be Thoughtful

In personal journals, you are free to express your feelings no matter how extreme or how erratic they are, because your personal journal is for your eyes only. But, a co-parenting journal is different.

Since your lawyer, your spouse’s lawyer, the judge, as well as other professionals might see your co-parenting journal, you will want to be extra thoughtful with the way your entries are recorded from word choice to tone.

This also reinforces the idea above about being honest.

In Summary

A co-parenting journal is an important part of your ongoing custody case. It’s quite different than a personal journal, so it’s very important to keep that in mind while you create entries.

The three best rules you can follow are to always be diligent, be honest, and be thoughtful. By doing so you show you are responsible, reasonable, and you’re entries will start to form a pattern over time allowing the professionals involved to help make sound judgments on what is truly best for your child.

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