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Using a parenting plan to set rules for electronic communication

If you are working out custody and visitation schedules, you will need to create a parenting plan. These plans draw boundaries, set schedules and establish various ground rules with which both parents are expected to comply. One set of rules you will want to include in the plan should refer to electronic communications.

Electronic communication is a part of our everyday lives. Think about how lost you would feel without your phone or computer and it should become clear that you would have a very difficult time staying in contact with others and keeping track of schedules, payments and other parenting obligations. Electronic communication can be an incredible tool to help parents and kids stay connected, but you can and likely will want to put some rules in place in your parenting plan.

As noted in Illinois state laws, electronic communication can refer to anything from phone calls and text messages to video conferencing and instant messaging. Setting limits on these communications can be important for a number of reasons.

To begin with, it can protect the in-person parenting time one person has with the child. Without restrictions, a non-present parent can call, text and otherwise communicate with a child and interfere with the time the child is spending with the other parent.

Establishing boundaries can also help provide some consistency and stability for a parent-child relationship that doesn't benefit from a lot of face-to-face parenting time. You can set up regular Skype calls or help a child understand when it is okay to reach out to the other parent if he or she needs to. This can strengthen a bond, even when it is not happening in person.

Under certain circumstances, you may be able to seek a restriction in electronic communications as well. This can be critical in situations where a child's safety or well-being is not being supported by communication with a noncustodial parent.

Discussing limits and rules for electronic communication in a parenting plan can provide critical guidance for parents as they enter a new chapter in raising a child. However, before you make any decisions or concessions in a parenting plan, it can be crucial that you consult an attorney who can help you protect your relationship with your child.

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Courtney, Clark & Mejias, P.C.
104 South Charles Street
Belleville, IL 62220

Toll Free: 866-921-8767
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