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How limits on communication protect your parenting time

While most people can remember a time before everyone had a cellphone or computer within arm's reach, our children are growing up in an environment of seemingly endless accessibility. They know they can call, text, email, message, or follow almost anyone almost any time.

Because of this, it is often necessary to establish limits when it comes to contact between kids and parents who share custody. Failure to do this in your parenting plan can lead to disputes and allegations of custodial interference. Below, we offer some tips for addressing this issue. 

Be specific

Leaving things open to interpretation in a parenting plan can lead to confusion and contentious disputes. When you address the issue of communication between kids and parents, be clear and specific.

For instance, instead of saying your child can contact the other parent when he or she is with you, specify when and how that contact can occur. Include limits on the frequency of contact, times of the day that may be off-limits, and/or forms of communication that are preferable. 

Be protective

Your time with your child is valuable. It should not be jeopardized by disruptive and/or excessive contact between your child and the other parent. To prevent this, be firm about setting boundaries and then enforce them. If the other parent crosses these boundaries, then it can be a violation of your parenting plan and legal action or mediation may be necessary.

Take into account the needs and best interests of your child

Every child is different and has different needs. When considering how and if to limit communication with the other parent, think about things like how old your child is, how close he or she is with the other parent, and his or her communication style. Regular calls for some kids are crucial; others may be fine only contacting the other parent in emergencies. 

Whatever limits you ultimately put in place regarding contact, make sure that they are fair and appropriate. Should you have concerns or questions about setting or enforcing boundaries in your parenting plan, consult an attorney familiar with California custody laws and standards.

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