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Technology to the rescue for exes who don't want to talk

Randy Kessler, the chair of the American Bar Association's Family Law Section, doesn't mince words when he talks about former spouses communicating following a divorce.

"People don't want to talk to their exes because just the sound of their voice is irritating," he says.

Millions of divorced couples would undoubtedly agree with that blunt assessment, but for many of them, here's the rub: Owing to their children, they have to communicate -- somewhat regularly, and often for many years, and sometimes for a lifetime -- over matters concerning things like child custody and visitation, modified parenting plans, plans to relocate, child support and related issues.

Fortunately for them, say Kessler, family law attorneys, counselors and other parties who know something about divorce, technology has stepped up to the plate to make things easier for couples who might otherwise mutually blow gaskets through forced exchanges that occur regularly.

"It's the best thing ever," notes one counselor regarding email, which she says "absolutely takes away the in-your-face aggravation and emotional side of joint custody."

And far more than email alone exists to help ex partners get through family-related matters unscathed. The Internet is replete with divorce apps. Online calendars for visitation and various matters can be mutually worked on by a couple thousands of miles apart and entered into a schedule as agreement is reached. Texting is widely popular among divorced couples. No face-to-face contact or calls are required at all.

Courts, too, seem to be embracing much of what is available to help divorce arrangements. The word "Skype" might have been a virtual mystery a few short years ago, but Skype contact between a child and parent who is not physically present is a standard custody arrangement nowadays.

Of course, some former couples get along splendidly or at least civilly and can forgo a ready dependence on the impersonal contacts afforded by technology.

Many others, though, are eminently thankful for that smartphone and laptop.

Source: New York Times, " vs.," Pamela Paul, Nov. 23, 2012

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