Electronic Communication: Tips for Divorced Parents and a Child

Summer possession and access can be a challenge for a child of divorced parents due to the amount of time a child is away from the other parent. It’s important that parents allow a child the freedom to communicate with the other parent during these times. This does not condone the situation where a parent is constantly calling or texting a child during periods of possession with the other parent. That behavior is wrong and invasive.

Consider the following language that can be included in a court order to optimize communication between a parent and a child:

  • Electronic communication can include communication facilitated by the use of a telephone, email, instant messaging or Skype.
  • Provide that the party not in possession of a child can have electronic communication with a child per the following terms: the party not in possession of a child can contact the child between the hours of – for example – 6 pm and 8 pm, and the parent in possession should make the child available to talk during those hours. If the child is unavailable to talk during those hours, the party in possession shall have the child return the call to the other parent within two hours of the missed call.
  • Language can be included that the parent in possession provides/notifies the other parent within 24 hours of a change for a cell phone number, e-mail address[es] and other electronic communication access to the child.
  • Further language can be included that if electronic equipment is available, the child should be afforded the same privacy, respect and dignity accorded all other forms of access.
  • Each parent should encourage and help facilitate, not impede or frustrate, the right of a child to contact the parent not in possession of the child if the child desires.