A growing number of parents are deciding to share legal and physical custody of children equally instead of having them live primarily with one parent. Equal parenting time has been found to reduce the emotional and psychological effects of divorce or separation on children while allowing both parents to maintain a healthy parenting relationship. Though shared parenting is initially difficult to adjust to, with time families discover the arrangement is not inconvenient. Unfortunately, when children spend an equal amount of time at different households, last minute emergencies can create problems for multiple people. Discussing ways to handle emergencies while sharing parenting in advance can help make stressful situations easier to manage.  

Contact the Other Parent

When something happens that impacts your ability to return your child to your former spouse’s home or if the child (or you) was hurt, always contact the other parent immediately. Waiting could lead to your former partner finding out about the emergency situation from a friend, other relative, or by a healthcare provider. It is best to be the first one to tell your spouse what is going on to prevent miscommunication from occurring and to avoid conflict. If possible, call the other parent rather than text or email so that he or she can ask you questions and receive immediate answers.

Stay Off Social Media

Today it is normal for people to post status updates on social media about everything that happens in their lives. While staying connected is good, the last thing you want is for the other parent to be bombarded with questions from curious third parties because of a status update. Do not post about what is going on in your personal life via social media without talking to the other parent first. Also, make sure your children are not posting information on their own accounts.  Even though you might think your former partner and his or her friends are not aware of your social media, bad news travels fast, making it possible for them to discover your post through third parties.

Always be Honest

Explaining an emergency situation to a former spouse is not always easy, especially if the situation involves someone he or she does not like or is (in your opinion) embarrassing. It is tempting to omit certain details or tell an outright lie, but doing so often makes everything worse.  Always be honest about what happened and prepare yourself to tell the entire truth. Chances are the other parent will find out what happened from your child, healthcare professional, other friends, or from you if you later forget what you originally said.    

Get Help from Your Attorney

If your relationship with your former spouse is so bad that you are afraid he or she will use your emergency against you, discuss your situation with your attorney immediately. A child custody and visitation attorney is able to give you advice on how to communicate with your ex in a productive manner. In some circumstances, your attorney may be able to mediate the situation to help you avoid conflicts. The attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum realize that unexpected things happen each day and we are prepared to offer you the legal advice and help you need. Contact us today and schedule an appointment at one of our four conveniently located Atlanta offices.