Making plans: A guide to parenting arrangements after separation or divorce

Appendix A: Advice about using electronic communications

Electronic communications, such as email or texting, can be a convenient and practical way to exchange information and discuss issues that affect your children. But it can also lead to misunderstandings if you are not clear.

When we communicate in person, we often use non-verbal cues (smiles, frowns, tears, tone of voice) to signal our feelings. When we email and send text messages, we lose those important non-verbal and physical cues. While that may be helpful in cases when our emotions are too strong, it can also lead to situations where someone understands a message in a different way.


Text messages can’t be cancelled or erased from another person’s cellphone after you send them. Avoid impulsive texting and take the time to read your messages before sending them.

It can be a good idea to decide ahead of time how you will use electronic communications to discuss issues related to your children. For example, perhaps you could limit texting to acknowledging when you have picked up the children or for emergency purposes only.

You can also set limits on how often and how many messages you can send in a day. 

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:


Emails and text messages are a record of your communications. Write your messages as if a third person were reading them—a judge could read them in the future.