Unfortunately,all too often parents argue on weekends about arrangements for their kids. All too often, the parents' lawyers also get dragged into the frame, with multiple letters/phone calls/faxes/emails flying back and forth at great expense. Inflammatory things are said, making the pain of whatever happened on the last weekend even worse, and with potential long lasting harm.
The Family and Federal Magistrates Courts have long recognised that this is not an ideal way to go, and have endorsed in appropriate cases the use of contact books. Used properly, these have a number of advantages:
- all communications are in writing
- they go back and forth with the child, so have little chance of being mislaid
Unfortunately, some parents abuse the privilege and write abusive comments, or when they don't like what the other side has written, keep the book and then claim that it is "lost". To prevent this happening, sometimes the other parents photocopy every page before handing over the book. What a pain! I have had clients say to me that they want to copy everything, but who has access to a copier?
I recently received a blurb about a new product called the Family Law Communications Book. What joy such a simple thing can bring. It's funny how something so cheap can save so much aggravation and cost. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention, and in my opinion at least this product is needed, and welcome.
Here is what the blurb said:
This book is printed in triplicate with carbonless paper. When you make an entry, you tear out the top sheet and keep it for your record. The other party can use the remaining sheets to write a response or follow up and they tear out the second copy for their record. The third copy remains in the book as a permanent record. If the book is lost or stolen, each of you still have your record of what was written. The books are designed to be numbered by volume and each set of pages is also consecutively numbered from 1 through to 30, enough to do the average family for more than a year. The books are printed with a durable cover in A5 size so that fit easily into the children’s school or overnight bags.
What an excellent idea!