On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Timesharing/Visitation on Thursday, December 20, 2012.
Child custody timesharing and visitation problems can be very stressful . . . even when parents get along well. No matter how well ex-spouses and parents cooperate with each other, there’s a good chance of angry phone calls, tearful exchanges, and even knock down drag out shouting matches. That’s because the strong emotions are still there. Often these arguments are played out in front of the children.
Technology can be a great way to shield children from parents fighting, ease the pressure of face-to-face communication between parents, and also to have more meaningful timesharing when your child is with the other parent. After all, we live in a world where we have video telephones, and wouldn’t you rather see your children when they are away rather than just hear them?
The New York Times recently reported on the growing trend of relying on text, email, Skype, Facetime and other online and digital tools to help facilitate timesharing. These digital means of communicating have replaced the face-to-face confrontations of the past, and have helped – I think – to avoid many of the heated exchanges in front of the children which typically take place during divorces and even afterwards.
MOST divorced couples would probably prefer not to see each other. Ever again. But when you share custody of your children, you have to assume a certain amount of face-to-face time amid the endless back-and-forthing.
Think of the clashing summer vacation plans, the who-goes-to-Lucy’s-birthday-party, the “Max forgot his homework again” at Dad’s. And those devilish contretemps that can arise if Mom, for example, decides to keep her house kosher while Dad serves the children pork chops. Or if her new boyfriend is suddenly sleeping over on “her” nights to host the children.
But just as new technologies have helped to facilitate communication between ex-spouses and divorcing parents, the technology can be abused as well. As the New York Post reports, technology can also be a means for snooping on the other parent. Consider the one case up in New York:
Fordham law Professor Annemarie McAvoy was ordered to take away the boy’s iPhone because she was using the Apple device to pry into the father’s home – spending long stretches talking with their son via the smartphone’s FaceTime video-chat feature. The judge noted:
“I believe the mother has entered the father’s home and has taken up residence to a certain extent,” Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Sunshine said.
Technology can be a double-edged sword. Not enough, and parents are forced into facing each other. And, face-to-face confrontations can be stressful and lead to arguments. Too much technology, and parents can use electronic devices to spy on the other parent or the child or worse.