virtual communication

What are the Non-custodial Parent’s Communication Rights With Children?


Generally, family courts do not like to issue orders that bars the communication of the child with the non-custodial parent. The custodial parent is not allowed to prevent communication between the noncustodial parent and the child. However, if there is neglect or abuse, the court must issue such orders. If the custodial parent does end up preventing the communication, the noncustodial parent can seek legal recourse. Schedules and rules for calling will be created by the family courts. 

Right to Request Schedules

Both the noncustodial and custodial parents have the right to request from the court specific schedules to electronically communicate with the child. This OAG form currently provides a reasonable time, but without specific time periods. Digital communication includes email, text messaging, instant messaging, and telephones. Now it also covers social media such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or Skype.

Electronic Communication

Since we live in the age of Information and Technology, a majority of parents electronically communicate with their child. If the parents have an agreement to this, the same does not have to be included in the order. If there is no agreement, one of the parents can file a motion to add it to the order. Electronic communication by phone, e-mail, text messaging, video call and other kinds of technology are quite assistive in long‐distance parenting. Virtual parenting is not the best substitute for being hands-on with the children.

Indirect Interference

Interference with a noncustodial parent’s time in communicating with the child can be done indirectly. An example is when a custodial parent interferes with the rights of the noncustodial parent. The refusal of the custodial parent to permit the child to answer calls from a noncustodial parent is unacceptable interference. For extreme interference, a court may issue an order for the arrest and detention of the parent who is interfering. If one of the parents is in violation of court-ordered visitation rights or custodial rights, they would be in contempt of court that results in imprisonment by the court. The state of Texas includes in its criminal law the parental rights interference. Any acts that interfere with custody, whether done directly or indirectly, may lead to felony charges.

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas.

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