Can My Ex Prevent Me from Communicating with My Child?
When the parents of a minor child divorce, the ramifications of the divorce often continue to impact everyone involved for many years to come. Even when parents remain on good terms and are supportive of the other parent’s relationship with the child, the parent-child relationship can suffer. When there is left over animosity between the parents, the child can end up in the middle. What can you do, for example, if your ex won’t allow you to communicate with your child? The Fort Worth fathers rights attorneys at The Law Office of Jon R. Boyd shed some light on that dilemma.
When Your Ex Controls Communication
In today’s electronic age, children in kindergarten often have their own cell phones! Parents, however, continue to retain the authority to restrict a young child’s ability to communicate. If you are the divorced father of a relatively young child, that means that your ex controls your child’s ability to communicate with you when your child is with her. Unfortunately, adults sometimes let their own feelings override what’s best for the child. That might mean that attempts to call and talk to your child are ignored and calls not returned. It could mean that your ex limits the time you are allowed to talk to your child, or listens to the conversations. Emails and text messages might be blocked or deleted as well. Whatever it is that your ex is doing to prevent communications between you and your child, the odds are good that a judge would not approve.
What Does the Law Say About Your Right to Communicate?
The Texas Family Code governs issues related to the rights of parents post-divorce. Section 153.001 states, in pertinent part, as follows:
The public policy of this state is to:
assure that children will have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child;
That section makes it very clear that, absent a good reason not to, the law favors ongoing and continued communication between a parent and child after divorce.
What Does Your Parenting Plan Say?
When you went through the divorce process, you were required to submit a Parenting Plan to the court for approval if your divorce was finalized in the State of Texas. If you and your child’s other parent were unable to agree on the terms of the required Parenting Plan, the court would have fashioned those terms on its own. Either way, you should have a copy of the plan with your final divorce decree. The first thing to do if you are having problems communicating with your child is to check your Parenting Plan to see what it says about communication. The plan may only mention the subject in broad terms; however, some plans are very specific about when and how a parent can communicate with a child. If the plan does address the issue with specificity, make sure you are abiding by the terms of the plan when attempting to communicate with your child.
What Can You Do to Resolve the Problem?
If your Parenting Plan does address communication, and your ex is clearly violating the terms of the plan, it may be time to consider taking your ex back to court for contempt. The terms of the Parenting Plan become orders of the court when the court approves the plan. Violating the terms of the plan, therefore, can be viewed as contempt of court.
If your Parenting Plan does not address communication with your child in any great detail, you may still wish to return to court and ask the court to modify the terms of conservatorship to include electronic communication with your child. Section 153.015 of the Family Code sets forth when the court can grant a parent, or conservator, electronic communication with a child. Once you are granted the right to communicate electronically, your ex will be in contempt of court if she continues to refuse to allow that communication.
Contact Fort Worth Fathers Rights Attorneys
If you have additional questions or concerns about your right to communicate with your child, contact the experienced Fort Worth fathers rights attorneys at The Law Office of Jon R. Boyd to schedule your appointment today.