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Social Media’s Growing Impact On Divorce And Child Access

Divorce, separation and parenting issues have always been riddled with contention and strife. But as contact between children and their absent parents moves through the 21st century, technologies such as text messages, Skype and social media are showing their potential to fuel increased discord between ex-spouses.

Fresh Reasons For Dispute

Online communication can be a quick, convenient and inexpensive way to maintain contact, but it has also begun to raise a number of contemporary issues for separated and divorced parents. Yet, problems seem to stem more often from human attitudes and perceptions rather than from the technology itself.

While adults typically have a more rigid view of how online appointments should be structured and conducted, children are often more flexible. Young ones may prefer not to follow strict schedules, be forced to talk for the allotted time, or even use the chosen medium. When this happens, custodial parents are often left struggling to facilitate the online visit, and may become an easy target for the wrath of the absent parent.

At the other end of the spectrum, a child may text an absent parent so frequently that the custodial parent’s authority begins to erode. Children themselves may also find ways to leverage social media to manipulate their polarized parents.

Need For Caution, Flexibility And Reasonableness

Family court is already beginning to wade through the issues and contentions involving online communications and child access. But, until guidelines and direction become more clear, separated and divorced parents may benefit by remaining reasonable in their expectations regarding social media and its role in child access.

Social media and technology may be best viewed as a support to, rather than as the prime method, for child access. Managing expectations and reducing conflict also means remaining flexible toward the scheduling and conducting of online sessions.

Parents may also benefit by working with a parenting coordinator and experienced family law lawyer. Peterson Stark Scott provides both services to families in Vancouver and Surrey.

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