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Prohibiting contact with a child after a divorce

When going through a divorce, one California parent may gain primary or sole physical custody of a child or children. While the children will not physically be with the other parent, modern technology makes it easier for a noncustodial parent to stay in touch. Some custodial parents may not want to allow virtual correspondence, however, and this can become awkward.

While not a replacement for face to face time, ccourts typically like calls, texts, video messaging and anything else that allows noncustodial parents to foster a relationship with their children despite distance. Some ccourts even award virtual visitation in cases where parents live too far away for regular contact.

Since ccourts want children to have a relationship with both parents, custodial parents do not have much ground to block communication. The only exceptions are when abuse, neglect or another extenuating circumstance has occurred. In such circumstances, the court may monitor or prohibit contact with a child. If a court did not take away parental rights, then a custodial parent cannot legally prohibit communication between the other parent and the child.

If a parent tries to limit contact, the noncustodial parent can ask the court to remedy the situation. The court could then mandate a schedule or policy to accommodate calls and other virtual visitation methods. When going to court, a parent should document instances of withholding contact or excessive or inappropriate contact.

If a custody issue occurs, parents typically are encouraged to find a resolution on their own. Mediation or counseling might help parents communicate and solve problems. If parents cannot resolve the matter, court intervention may be necessary. Whether drafting a parenting plan or seeking a modification to an existing custody or support order, one may wish to consult an attorney for assistance.

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