I recently received a question from a parent, asking about limits regarding social media, cell phones, and child custody. When a child exchanges parenting time between two households, the parents often do not share the same values regarding cell phone usage, social media presence, and related technologies.
Are parents required to be on the same page? Do judges have the ability to order what social media children are exposed to?
The answers are no, and probably not.
Surprised? Don’t be.
While courts regulate who parents and in what amount, as well as which parent makes certain decisions regarding education, medical treatment, and activities for the children, courts rarely get so invasive as to dictate what children are exposed to in terms of social media, what movies they can watch, or what age a child can have a cell phone.
Consider this example: You are the custodial parent. You have your children most of the time, subject to very little visitation time by the other parent. You work full-time and the children are involved in school and activities. They often carpool. You need them to have cell phones, but when the other parent has visitation time, he or she refuses to allow the children to use cell phones. Perhaps the other parent believes you are doing so in order to know when they are on the move, courtesy of cell phone tracking. He or she might want to spend time with the children without them being distracted by technology.
Who is right?
Who is wrong?
Is either parent wrong?
Should each parent be allowed to parent his and her own way without interference from the other parent?
How should a conversation on this issue occur?
At the core of these issues is a lack of productive communication between the parents. This is what really needs to be addressed. More often than not, there are a variety of strategies that can help, such as the following:
- Open communication between the parents.
- Couples counseling or family counseling.
- A parenting coordinator.
- A mediator.
A formal parenting plan can help, too. These written agreements establish how divorcing couples will work together to care for their children, and include such concerns as entertainment, social media, phone tracking, and more.
If you find yourself on either side of this dilemma, do not minimize it. Take control of it with open communication with the other parent. Get yourself to a highly skilled family law attorney to work through your options first. You will be glad you did.
SIEGELLAW understands that family law decisions impact every facet of your life and the lives of your children. We are advocates who will fight for your rights and protect your best interests. Find out how. Call us today at 410-792-2300 or fill out the form to request additional information.