[W]e talked yesterday about wrong ways to communicate with your Ex. So how do we write good notes that convey well?

1. Tackle One Issue at a Time. There may be 10 things you think are urgent that needs to be discussed with your Ex, but in a letter, there should only be one short issue discussed. In court, your letters could be used as evidence. Short letters can be quickly read by the judge, even if opposing side “Objects.” Keep your correspondence short and to the point.

Examples of Written Letters to the Ex

Bad example: “To the mother of my child: This letter is to address the fact that you have been more than 30 minutes late the past five drop offs, always forgetting to bring her school bag back, are currently $10,000 behind on your child support …”

Good example: “03/25/2009 Mary, just a short sealed handwritten note to let you know Jill has started using training bras this week. Perhaps you might have a discussion with her about this. If needed, I am free for coffee after I drop Jill at school at 8:30a on Friday. A quick Y/N text will do. Either way works for me. Keeping you in the parenting loop. – Fred”

2. Be Brief and To the Point.

3. Keep Your Feelings Out of It. I’m going to lump these two suggestions together because they seem to go hand in hand. Again this is not your time to relive accusing back story, nor time to write a novel about all the gory details. Document the date, keep it very to the point, write as few sentences as possible, and be cordial.

Examples of Written Letters to the Ex

Bad example: “I have noticed that YOUR daughter when she comes from YOUR house wears inappropriate clothing that show her breast buds. I cannot believe how you never seem to take time out of your overly busy schedule to address that fact that YOUR daughter needs a bra.”

Good example: “03/25/2009 Mary, just a short sealed handwritten note to let you know Jill has started using training bras this week. Perhaps you might have a discussion with her about this. If needed, I am free for coffee after I drop Jill at school at 8:30a on Friday. A quick Y/N text will do. Either way works for me. Keeping you in the parenting loop. – Fred”

4. Document Your Concerns and the Event. Depending on what stages you are in regarding your court case, some events need to be documented. Documentation includes a copy of the note, which you’ll make ahead of time. Next, a date and time of the event, and then after delivery, a handwritten record that the letter was delivered. After a letter has been given, I usually hand write across the top “Hand Delivered to Jill on 03/25/2009 when Mom dropped off Johnny at 7:03p to the front door of Dad’s house (3832 Periwinkle Street.)”

5. Mail It, Hand Deliver It, or Seal It in an Exchange Bag. As already stated, an exchange is not the place to have these discussions. The best method is to drop it in the mail to the other parent’s house. Seal it in an envelope and give to your Ex at the door—cordially or finally place it with other notes from school in a sealed envelope “To Only Be Opened by the Other Parent.”

Co-parenting is hard. Take the high road and keep the other parent informed and write her a short, brief, letter about your precious children. After you written it, sleep on it and re-read it in the morning. Make sure it’s all about the children, after all that’s what matters.

How do you communicate with your Ex? What additional suggestions would you add?