Can I Text My Child When They Are with My Ex?
According to a study published in the Journal of Family Issues, children of divorced parents have better relationships with their mother and father when they have frequent communication with them, regardless of the parents’ relationship with one another. Texting is one way that children can remain in constant contact with both the custodial parent (the parent with custody at the time) and non-custodial parent (the parent without custody at the time), even while separated.
However, texting can create conflict between parents. When it’s your time with your child, and your ex-spouse is constantly interrupting by texting them, that can be frustrating. On the other hand, when your child is with your ex-spouse and you need to ask them a question or just want to check in, it can be very concerning if your ex-spouse discourages or even prevents that communication.
As long as there is no court order controlling the communication, you can text with your child when they are with your ex-spouse. Similarly, your ex-spouse can text your child when they are with you. If you have concerns about your child’s texting, a family lawyer can help. Contact the experienced Atlanta child custody and visitation attorneys of Kessler & Solomiany, LLC for a free consultation. We know that co-parenting can be challenging. Call us today at (404) 688-8810 for a free consultation.
Tips for Texting with Your Child
Even within the most harmonious co-parenting relationships, conflicts can arise over too much, too little, or ill-timed communication with the child. Here are some tips for managing this important communication tool:
- If necessary, establish a set day and time when your child will check in via phone call or text with the non-custodial parent.
- When you are the custodial parent, be sure to respect this time your child has with your ex-spouse, as you would hope to receive the same treatment.
- Make clear that calls or texts outside of this designated time may be ignored, except in the case of an emergency.
- Be prepared to adjust this schedule on weekends or around the holidays to provide more flexibility.
- If you or your ex-spouse text your child outside of these designated times, consider whether this communication is actually helping your child maintain a close relationship with both of their parents. Focus on what is best for your child.
- If the texting is happening at a time that is distracting for your child, such as at the dinner table or during homework time, it is perfectly acceptable to ask your child to put their phone away.
- Avoid communicating with your ex-spouse through your child (for example, asking your child to remind your ex-spouse about an upcoming doctor’s appointment). This places too much burden on your child for your co-parenting relationship. Instead, consider using apps or shared calendars to coordinate schedules.
- When texting with your child, do not under any circumstances say derogatory things about your ex-spouse. Not only is this damaging to your child’s relationship with their parent, but it could also be used against you in court.
- Do not attempt to monitor your ex-spouse through texting with your child. This places the child in the role of “spy.” Not only does this model bad behavior for your child, but it may also contribute to a perception in the child’s mind that there is something wrong with the other parent.
- If texting is creating conflict between you and your ex-spouse, consider using specialized co-parenting apps such as OurFamilyWizard, Coparently, or TalkingParents.
When a Family Lawyer Can Help
If the communication becomes excessive or inappropriate, or your ex-spouse is preventing you from communicating with your child, an experienced family lawyer can help. A lawyer can advise you about your rights, recommend and negotiate solutions, and if need be, file an order for a court-enforced communication schedule. In court, a judge may require you and your ex-spouse to use one of the co-parenting apps. Courts can even monitor this communication to ensure you and your ex-spouse are complying with the schedule.
Contact Us Today
The attorneys at Kessler & Solomiany, LLC are experienced in a range of family-related issues, including child custody conflicts. They have helped numerous clients navigate these emotional situations, always with the goal of protecting your child and their relationship with you. Contact our office today at (404) 688-8810 for a free consultation.