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Is electronic communication with your kids allowed?

As a parent in Wilmington, you no doubt want to be constantly plugged into your kids' lives. That can become much more difficult if you and your spouse choose to divorce. You may have your own dedicated custodial time in which to talk to them, but what about then they are with your ex-spouse? You may view calling them on the phone or sending them an email in such situations is perfectly harmless, yet your ex-spouse may not. Indeed, they may see it as you infringing on their custodial time. This may prompt the question of whether that state has guidelines for communication with your kids in this scenario. 

Indeed it does. Section 50-13.2 of North Carolina's General Statutes says that electronic visitation is allowed provided the court authorizes it first. In determining whether you can contact your kids electronically when they are with their other parent (and vice versa), the court considers the following factors: 

  • Whether allowing such communication is in your kids' best interests 
  • Whether the equipment needed to facilitate such communication is readily available to both you and your ex-spouse
  • Any other relevant factors the court deems necessary to consider before allowing such communication

When the court authorizes electronic communication, it will typically stipulate during which hours it can occur and how long communications can be. This is not to say that you cannot occasionally call your kids if you do not have an agreement in place; it just means you may not be able to maintain consistent contact with them that takes away from your ex-spouse's parenting time. 

Speaking of your ex-spouse, they cannot claim that conceding extra electronic communication to you serves as a substitute for your regularly scheduled custodial or visitation time.  

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The Law Office of L. Bryan Smith, P.C.
3965 Market Street
Wilmington, NC 28403

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North Carolina Bar Association | Seeking Liberty &; Justice | NHCBA | NEW HanOver County Bar Association, Inc. | P.O. Box 2180, Wilmington, NC 28402
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