Never monitor or record phone calls with the other parent

Posted October 25th, 2016.

Categories: Child Custody, Custody Tips, Family Law.

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Tell me if this has happened in your home. The kids are with their other parent and you’re on the telephone talking to them, and you can hear in the background that the other parent is listening in, or coaching the children what to say.

Bad news! Don’t let the other parent participate in your private phone calls with the kids. (And don’t do this yourself). A parent should never monitor a call or listen in on one of the phone extensions in the home. A parent should never record the phone call covertly or engage in any other kind of “bugging” or surveillance tactics. And, a parent should not engage in behind-the-scenes coaching of the children to ensure that they say (or don’t say) certain things on the phone call.

Children need to have unfettered and uncontrolled access to their parents by telephone. They need the freedom to express what’s on their minds. It places an unreasonable burden on a child who speaks guardedly and who fears he or she might say the wrong thing on the phone. A child should not feel she’ll get in trouble if she expresses love for the other parent on the phone, or that she’ll anger a parent by talking about what she’s been doing with the other parent.

Judges typically disapprove of parents who spy on each other, who monitor phone calls, who coach their children what to say, or who engage in undisclosed surveillance tactics. There are many conventional methods of conducting pre-trial discovery in a custody case, and, if there’s a problem or suspicion of something improper, the children can always be interviewed after the fact.

Please let me know any experiences you may have had.

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