Child custody disputes are often the most hotly contested cases in family law. It only stands to reason: Parents often feel very strongly that the child would be best cared for in their custody, and work very hard to ensure that they are made the primary caregiver. When a parent is awarded primary custody, they sometimes feel as though they should then be the only parental influence in their child’s life.
This is not the case, however. Though the primary caregiver has the right to determine many aspects of the child’s life, the noncustodial parent still maintains a large number of rights and responsibilities. In particular, he or she gains visitation rights, court-ordered dates in which the child will be placed in the noncustodial parent’s care.
Between visits, communication between the noncustodial parent and the child is a common sticking point in the co-parenting relationship. Before the divorce, the noncustodial parent was able to communicate with his or her child at any time — several times a day at home. After the divorce, it’s much more difficult for noncustodial parents to communicate, even though they often want to. This is especially true if the custodial parent moves to block the communication — telling the children not to return messages, for example.
This is a difficult situation for families to be in. One way to avoid it is to work the issue of communication into the child custody agreement — set a certain number of phone calls or texts that should be sent between parent and child. This sets a legal standard that both parents can adhere to, right from the beginning of the co-parenting experience.
The Huffington Post, “Co-Parenting: Communication With Kids Post-Divorce” Valerie DeLoach, Nov. 20, 2013