Can I Text My Child When They Are with My Ex?
Texas Family Code 153.001 states that children should have continued and frequent contact with parents that have shown their ability to act in their child’s best interest and provide a stable, safe, and nonviolent environment. This statute also encourages parents to share their duties and rights in raising their kids after a separation or dissolution of marriage. In other words, the courts believe it’s crucial for children to spend time with each parent.
Unfortunately, not all divorcing or divorced couples feel the same way. One parent might cut off the other from contact with their kids during visitation or after seeking a custody order. If this happens in your situation, you might need to get the court involved.
Contacting a Child through Electronic Means
While negotiating the terms of your divorce, you can ask the court for custody of your kids. If they rule in your ex’s favor for primary custody, you should be allowed visitation. That can include electronic access. Even when you’re not with them, you should be able to speak to them often.
Electronic access can include many types, such as:
- Phone calls
Texas Statute Regarding Electronic Communication
According to Texas Family Code 153.015, electronic communication means communicating with a wireless or wired technology via the internet or another electronic media. This includes communication using electronic email, telephone, instant messaging, webcam, or videoconferencing.
If a parent requests periods of electronic communication from the court, the court might grant an order allowing them to communicate with their child during periods when they’re with the other parent.
The court will consider various factors when determining whether they will grant an order allowing electronic communication. These factors include:
- Whether the necessary equipment to communicate electronically is reasonably available to all parties involved in the order;
- Whether electronic communication is in the child’s best interest; and
- Additional factors the court might consider appropriate when making the decision.
If the court decides to grant periods of electronic communication, both parents must meet these requirements:
- Provide electronic equipment, if reasonably available, to the child with the same respect, privacy, and dignity as other forms of access, at a reasonable duration and time subject to limitations in the court order
- Provide the other parent with an email address and additional information for electronic communication access with the child
- Notify the other parent if any email address or information for another electronic communication changes no later than 24 hours from when the change took effect
What to Do If Your Ex Doesn’t Allow Communication with Your Child
If you’re having trouble talking or texting with your child when they’re not with you, it could be because their other parent isn’t allowing them the necessary access. Situations like this can complicate a co-parenting relationship and negatively affect your child.
When a divorcing couple shares kids, they must submit a Parenting Plan to be included in their Final Decree of Divorce. Review it to confirm your rights. If the terms clearly state you have access to your child through electronic communication and your ex isn’t abiding by those terms, you might have to take them to court.
Since the Parenting Plan is a legal document enforced by the court, your ex could face serious consequences for keeping your child from communicating with you. They could face an expensive fine or even jail time for not complying with the order.
You must show evidence that your ex denied your electronic communication rights. If it only happened one time, it was likely a mistake. However, if it continues to happen, you will need to show a pattern of this violation. Common evidence used in cases like this include:
- Copy of a filed police report
- Testimony from eyewitnesses
- Documentation showing deliberate violations of the order, such as a text or email from your ex saying they don’t want you speaking to your child
It’s critical to hire an experienced lawyer to help you with this complicated process. They can draft a motion on your behalf and obtain the available evidence for court proceedings.
If you’re going through a divorce and need help pursuing electronic communication access with your child or if your ex violated the terms of the court-ordered agreement, contact Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P. immediately.
We can help you pursue legal action to try to resolve the matter favorably. You deserve to speak with your child when they’re in your ex’s physical custody. When communication gets cut off intentionally, you have a right to take your ex to court to enforce the order.