Faciliating access to teenage children

Law Blog

After separation or divorce, ideally, any children will still have access to both parents and have the opportunity to have meaningful relationships with both parents. This can be facilitated with a range of communication techniques including face-to-face visits, phone calls and video calls. For teenagers with other commitments and growing social networks, it can become harder to convince teenagers to make time the other parent.

Here are some guides on how each parent needs to facilitate contact with the other parent.

Face-to-face visits

At the end of face-to-face visits, the other parents should hand over the child at an agreed handover point and, where possible, not rely on public transport for the child to organise their own way to the other parents. This can involve both parties meeting at an agreed point but, with teenage children, it may be easier to transition through one parent dropping the child at school and the other one picking them up. The cost of these visits, in terms of times and money, should be broadly shared between parents but does not have to be exactly equal.

If the teen is not eager to make these visits, you should discuss their reasons with them and help them to solve the issue. For example, they may want to attend social events with local friends and you may be able to facilitate this with your ex-spouse if you are aware of the issue.

Calls and video calls

The parent who is currently with the child should organise reasonable amounts of time that the child has access to a phone to call their other parent and should ensure that they do not have other activities scheduled during any times that they are supposed to make scheduled calls. This doesn't mean that the child needs constant access to a mobile phone or that they are allowed to call their other parent at any point if it is not an agreed time.

Other online access such as social media and email

The growing method of communicating amongst and with teens is through social media. In order to get onto social media, the teens need access to the internet, but parents do not need to allow this. Parents may have different approaches to access to social media at each house and, while it's helpful if parents can agree on an approach, if needed, the teen can always adapt to different rules at different homes.

If you feel that your ex-spouse is not doing enough to support your access to your child and/or impacting your ability to have a relationship with your child, you should speak to a family lawyer to discuss your options. 


25 January 2016

Sorting out my dad's estate

My dad died when I was still pretty young so it's been a big surprise all the stuff I've had to do to sort out his estate. I'm an only child and my folks divorced when I was a baby so most of the work fell to me. He was kind of disorganised and grumpy, but at least he'd spoken to his lawyer and got a proper will drawn up which saved on confusion at a tricky time. If you are a young person dealing with the estate of a deceased parent, this blog is designed to help you navigate the legal processes.