An accident or serious illness that is affecting a child is one of the most stressful and painful situations that a parent can go through. Not knowing how to react and being unsure of what will happen is bad under normal circumstances, but if you have recently gotten a divorce, things are often much more stressful. When a couple goes through a divorce that involves custody issues, both parties are usually dissatisfied by the final court-approved custody agreement. If you are awarded primary physical custody of the child, contacting an ex who is already upset over not obtaining custody may lead to a confrontation. Fortunately, there are a few ways to handle post-divorce kid-related emergencies without causing a major argument.
Call, do Not Text
No matter how frightened or upset you are you must pick up your phone (or find one) and call your ex. Text strips all context and inflection from your words, leaving the interpretation to your former spouse. A message that you feel is direct, calm, and to the point may be perceived as overly dramatic, confrontational, or accusatory. Instead of texting and risking an argument at a time when you need to focus on your child, call your ex. Speak to him or her about what you know, and give him or her an opportunity to ask questions.
Stay Off of Social Media
Today the average person checks his or her social media accounts every few hours and documents most things that happen in his or her life. People routinely post that they are in the hospital or pictures of their injuries to show their family and friends what has happened to them. While these posts are normal, it is never a good idea to post information about your child’s emergency on social media without talking to your former spouse first. Your ex may not want anyone to know what has happened, where your child is, or anything else about the situation until some time has passed or he or she has acquired more information about what has happened. No parent wants to find out something happened to his or her child via social media.
Wait to Talk About Money
Regardless of whether your child has emergency surgery or is stranded in another state during a school trip, place arguments or discussions about money on hold. Talking about who owes what while the emergency is ongoing is never a good idea. A person who is already worried and upset is not going to be able to have a coherent discussion about finances. Once your child is out of harm’s way, then you and your ex can discuss how your uninsured medical expenses, travel costs, or other financial matters should be handled.
Contact an Attorney
There are times when communicating with your ex is impossible regardless of how you try to approach it. If you feel as though your current co-parenting and custody agreement is not working, consider contacting a child custody and visitation attorney. The attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum know that sometimes current agreements require modification. We can provide you with legal advice to establish or modify a parenting plan. Contact one of our Atlanta, Georgia offices today to schedule your first consultation.