TELEPHONE ACCESS IS THE OFTEN FIRST FIGHT
Experienced family law lawyers may tell you that if you and your spouse are separated and in the middle of divorce that fighting about telephone access is often the first major battle that occurs between parents.
This is because, one parent may feel insecure about their parenting and because of their insecurity, they will not want your child to feel the right to call their other parent, even if the child craves and needs access to their other parent.
Facetime & Electronic communication During divorce
If you are a parent that is accustomed to seeing your children regularly, using facetime to see them when they are with their other parent can help. But, it can also be enormously difficult.
The reason it can be very hard on the parent using facetime is that depending on the child’s age, you cannot “parent” a child easily here. You can instead see them and try to briefly catch up with them, and see that they are well.
If they are not well, facetime can be very painful for the non-custodial parent witnessesing this over facetime.
Is It The Law That You Can Call Your Child Or They Can Call You?
If a judge orders that your children shall have unlimited phone access to the other parent, then they are supposed to be allowed to call you whenever they need to in accordance with the judges order which in that context is considered “the law.” However, without a court order stating the rules regarding electronic communciation, the right to do so is not as clear.
Parents of older children will say that this is not as much of a challenge because the children will have their own telephone or ability to call you, and the other parent is not in control of that occurring like as with the case with the younger children.
Phone Access Can Be a Major Challenge, Be Ready
Because of the high emotions involved with being away from young children, be prepared that the telephone time is among the most difficult parts of this transition. Many parents will say it is painful to see my child and not be able to hug them, or it is difficult to see them but not be able to phsyically help them with small things like tying shoes or getting ready for bed.
I strongly suggest going to therapy to discuss the pains of this with a professional that will help you learn to transition through this part of your divorce. It is that signficant a challenge! Do not expect it to all run smoothly overnight. It will take time if you and your ex are fighting over telephone access. Be patient with yourself. If you are married to a narcissist, be prepared to exercise radical acceptance that sometimes they will use the phone access as a weapon rather than a tool for communication.
The Children's Bill of Rights
The first right listed in the Children’s Bill of Rights is
- Neither parent shall deny the child reasonable use of the telephone to place and receive calls with the other parent and relatives.
A healthy parent will not reduce the relationship that their child has with the other parent no matter how egregious the divorce is.
A healthy parent will know that their child’s sense of well-being is in part because they know they can rely on their parents (BOTH parents) and that both parents are good.
It is child abuse to engage in behavior that reduces your child’s sense of belonging with the other parent. If you train your child not to call the other parent, this will harm your position in a custody case, but more importantly it will harm your child’s self esteem. Your divorce is between you and your spouse. Keep your children out of it. Let them call their parent.