Divorced couples with minor children find themselves in the challenging position of parenting together, yet separately. Throw in a protection from abuse (PFA) or no-contact order, and co-parenting can seem impossible. If one parent is not permitted to have contact with the other, how can they effectively raise their children?
Protection From Abuse orders and co-parenting
A PFA order generally bans one parent from the complainant’s home and business and requires that he or she refrain from contacting the complainant by phone, text, or social media. Such orders are “very unusual,” says forensic expert and trial consultant Dean Tong. “It places one parent both at risk of being baited by the other to violate the order and at a distinct disadvantage, parenting-wise.”
“Co-parenting can be a challenge in the best of circumstances,” say divorce attorney Christopher Hildebrand of Hildebrand Law in Scottsdale, Arizona. “And it can be downright difficult if a court has limited the way the parents can communicate with each other.”
But it’s not impossible. Here are some workarounds:
- Hildebrand suggests utilizing a simple notebook to share information. Record any child-related matters that occurred during your custodial week that your ex might need to know. Examples include information regarding school grades and assignments, behavioral or discipline issues, health information, social events, and the like.
- If the court order permits email communication regarding the children, Hildebrand recommends using a service such as ProperComm, which monitors the email information between you and the other parent. The service screens the emails and removes any offensive language that might violate the PFA.
- “Some states allow a third person to be appointed to monitor disputes and provide solutions,” says Hildebrand. This individual gathers the information from both parents and issues a report and recommendation to the court. If no one objects, the court signs an order to implement those decisions.
- The mobile and desktop app Zimplified helps ensure compliance by enabling co-parents to share information and communicate through a secure, online platform. Use it to maintain calendars, store important documents, and track and reconcile child-related expenses.
Many no-contact orders are not permanent, so make every attempt to abide by the court’s ruling until it expires. If you find that the order inhibits your ability to parent, ask your lawyer about filing a petition to modify the order.