Matrimonial and Family Law Blog

Friday, July 6, 2018

What Happens When Co-Parents Disagree About Cell Phones for Their Kids?

Co-parenting can be one of the most difficult issues parents must face when they separate and divorce. It is usually in the best interest of the child for both parents to remain active participants in the child’s life. For that reason, New York requires parents to develop a parenting plan that outlines the custody agreement and visitation terms for the child. Our New York child custody lawyers assist clients through this difficult process to develop a parenting plan that meets the needs of the parties and is in the best interest of the child.

Goals of a Parenting Plan

The main goals of a parenting plan are:

  • Both parents remain active in their child’s life;

  • The child continues a close relationship with each parent;

  • The parties share the duties and responsibilities of child-rearing;

  • The child feels safe, secure, protected, and loved; and,

  • Provide details about issues that directly impact the child such as decisions regarding education, religion, household rules, health issues, and extracurricular activities.

Parents who can work together to develop a parenting plan that focuses on the best interests of the child instead of the parents’ differences may avoid conflicts and problems in the future. One issue that can create conflict between parents is cell phone use by children.

Addressing Cell Phone Use and Rules in the Parenting Plan

Because many children have cell phones and other electronic devices at a young age, it is important to define the terms and rules for a child’s cell phone use when negotiating the parenting plan. Failing to address this important issue can cause conflict between co-parents in the future. Including guidelines and rules in the parenting plan ensures both parents present a united front when problems regarding cell phone use arise.

Some of the issues to consider when setting guidelines for cell phone use for your children include:

  • Both parents should have reasonable telephone access to the child when the child is with the other parent.

  • Communication between the parent and child should be confidential. A parent should not interfere with or listen to conversations between the child and the other parent.

  • The age at which a child should be given his or her own cell phone.

  • Who will provide the cell phone and who will pay the cell phone bill?

  • Will the cell phone be used as a discipline tool? If so, the parenting plan should stipulate under what circumstances the cell phone will be confiscated, such as poor grades, missing curfew, or failing to perform chores.

  • Determine the rules for cell phone use and the consequences for breaking those rules.

  • Rules for communicating disciplinary actions and confiscation of a cell phone to the other parent.

  • How will parents monitor a child’s cell phone use to ensure bullying, sexting, or other undesirable behavior is not taking place?

A New York family law attorney can help you develop a list of issues that you want to address in your parenting plan regarding your child’s cell phone use. The above list is a sample of some of the issues a parenting plan should address. You and your child’s other parent may have additional concerns, stipulations, guidelines, and rules for cell phone use.

Contact a New York Family Law Attorney to Discuss Parenting Plans and Cell Phones

Covering every potential issue that may arise regarding your child’s cell phone use can be difficult. Contact us today to see how we can best serve you. Our experienced New York matrimonial law attorneys have encountered this issue in other cases and can provide guidance as you work through this section of your parenting plan.

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