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Handling electronic communications between parent and child

Some Arizona parents who are divorced may have a visitation agreement that includes an arrangement for the noncustodial parent to communicate with the child using text, phone calls or video calls. In some cases, custodial parents might wonder whether they can prohibit the other parent from communicating with their child in this way. In general, courts discourage cutting off contact between a parent and child unless there is an issue such as domestic abuse.

If abuse is an issue or the child is being harassed, the parent may want to document the harassment and go to court to resolve the issue. A court may enact strict rules around when and how the noncustodial parent can communicate with the child. Another option is for the parents and their attorneys to try to reach a new agreement.

However, courts are unlikely to agree to block communication altogether, and parents who are considering doing so might want to consult a child therapist first. It may be harmful to cut off or even reduce a child's contact with the other parent even if the custodial parent has issues with that parent.

Custodial and visitation issues can be difficult to negotiate during a divorce and can continue to arise long after the marriage has officially ended. It is most common for parents to share joint legal custody even if only one has primary physical custody. Legal custody refers to who will make decisions about major issues such as a child's education or health care. During the divorce, parents might want to create a plan that addresses how they will handle issues such as these as well as other issues including when children should meet new partners, extracurricular activities and vacation plans. Parents may also agree on a method for resolving conflict, such as going through mediation.

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