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Including Phone Conversations in Your Parenting Plan

Posted on in Divorce

Including Phone Conversations in Your Parenting PlanEach parent’s scheduled time with their children after divorce should not be interrupted by the other parent unless necessary. In some cases, a phone conversation or texting with the children may be appropriate. However, there are situations where these forms of communication may disrupt the existing parenting time schedule. Extensive phone conversations between a parent and child can be included in a parenting schedule to ensure that both parents agree on whether it is appropriate.

When Are Phone Conversations Appropriate?

Some children have trouble adjusting to a two-household living arrangement because it is their first time being away from either parent for an extended period. They may initially benefit from phone calls with the nonresidential parent, though you should ween them off of these calls so that they do not become emotionally dependent on them. There are other situations in which a phone call that is longer than a couple of minutes may be appropriate:

  • When a parent lives a long distance from their children, regular phone calls may be part of their parenting time because it is impractical for them to frequently see each other in person;
  • A phone conversation could also be a substitute for parenting time if the children are on a trip and missing their normal parenting time; and
  • Children should be able to talk to their nonresidential parent in special situations when they have news that they want the other parent to immediately know about.

When Are Phone Conversations Not Appropriate?

Frequent communications or long conversations with a child can aggravate the parent who has the children. You should not interrupt your children’s time with the other parent unless there is an urgent issue that cannot wait until you see them again. Even sending periodic texts to check up on your children is disruptive.

Frequent communications can also put your children in an awkward position. They may dislike you interrupting their time with their other parent but be afraid of disappointing you by not accepting your call.

If your child is the one who is frequently contacting you while with their other parent, you need to gently break them of this habit. Encourage them to pay attention to their other parent when they are with them. If your child seems to resist doing this, you should ask them why they feel that way. It may be an issue that you can reconcile with your co-parent, or it may be a sign that your co-parent is doing something that makes them uncomfortable.

Contact a McHenry County Divorce Attorney

A parenting plan can set rules for when and how parents can contact their children. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, divorce lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can modify your parenting plan if you need to change its conditions. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.


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