The rise of cell phones has put a new and unique spin on custody agreements. In an age when it seems everyone has access to a cellphone, even children, what are the rules that separated parents need to play by? It can be hard to know what is and isn’t acceptable behavior when it comes to texting and messaging your children when they are with your ex-partner.
Before you hit send on your text message, consider talking to an experienced family law attorney first. At Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq., we can review your custody agreement and advise you on what may or may not be acceptable communication. In short, can you text your child? Yes. Are there instances where texting could interfere with your custody arrangement? Potentially, yes. In the meantime, consider some of these points when texting with your children when they are not with you.
Respect Everyone’s Time
If you are following a court-ordered custody agreement, chances are you have quality time with your kids, and your partner has theirs. While it is perfectly normal to want to know how your child is doing and what they are up to, try to be respectful of your ex-partner’s time. Too many calls or text messages could begin to interfere with their custody time and put a strain on your ex-partner’s relationship with the kids. In effect, this can put even more of a strain on your relationship with your ex. It also has the potential to trigger another court appearance.
Do Not Message Your Child About Your Problems
If your child is with their other parent, resist the urge to use your child as a go-between. A child is not a tool or communication device. Do not text your child telling them to tell your ex something. If you need to get in touch with your ex about something, use the appropriate means of communication.
In the same vein, do not text your child while they are with your ex-partner about your problems or issues. Never send degrading, mean-spirited, or hurtful messages about your former partner or their parenting style. These text messages can sour your child’s relationship with their other parent. They can also cause the courts to reexamine your custody arrangement. While messages can be deleted, the data is not gone forever. Never send harassing, obscene, or angry text messages, ever.
Consider a Communication Schedule
Every parent worries about their child when they are not in plain view. If you are anxious about being separated from your child, talk to your ex-spouse about a communication schedule. Agree on setting aside some time each day for you to communicate with your child through calls, video conferencing, or texting. A calling or texting schedule can help you feel more at ease about the custody transition. It may also help ease tensions between you and your ex since you each know what to expect, and there are no surprises.
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Do Not Tamper with Your Child’s Phone
If you miss your child and want to stay in contact with them while they are away, think about how your ex-spouse feels. They may also want to text message their child. Never tamper with your child’s phone while they are in your custody. Do not delete messages or calls, and do not remove the phone’s battery, rendering them unreachable.
Don’t Put Your Child in the Middle
If you are having issues communicating with your child, or need to reach your ex about a particular issue and are finding it difficult, talk to your lawyer. Do not put your child in the middle of a cell phone dispute or turn them into the go-between. Reach out to an experienced family law attorney and lay out your issues. If you have evidence of harassing messages, ignored calls or messages, or other communication problems, your attorney can help you sort them out.
In some situations, communication problems may result in another court appearance or a modification to your custody agreement. Protect yourself and your child and get an attorney involved as soon as you feel something isn’t right.
Contact a Highly Experience Family Law Attorney Today
You have the right to communicate with your child. However, your ex has the right to a relationship with their child as well. Navigating custody agreements and communication issues in the age of cell phones is challenging. It often means striking the right balance between disinterested and overzealous.
If you need help managing custody or communication issues post-divorce, talk to a skilled family law attorney today. The office of Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq. can help you pursue a positive outcome for your situation. Call us at (732) 898-2378 right away.