Visitation & Phone Calls

by Marie from Tampa, Florida, Hillsborough County

My child visits his father every Wednesday and every other weekend per our visitation agreement.

For the most part we have no issues, however my son is extremely close to me and likes to call and say goodnight before he goes to bed.

His father has told me that he is refusing to allow that. My son is 7 years old. I have explained that if he wants to call me once to say goodnight that shouldn't be an issue.

I agree it shouldn't be excessive phone calls. Our parenting agreement states that we cannot keep communication from the other parent. I am just not sure what to do.

Answer to Florida Child Visitation Question

Dear Marie,

First try to talk to, and reason with your ex.

Ask him if he has any specific reason to deny your son the telephone calls.

Explain to your ex that you feel that this denial is contrary to your parenting agreement.

Also explain to him, that without some compelling reason for the denial of the phone calls, that you feel this is not in the best interests of your son.

Explain further that, given your son's age, he especially needs to know that Mom is just a phone call away; and that his being deprived of phone contact could be potentially emotionally damaging to your son.

If your ex will still not agree to the phone calls, and does not offer a reason that satisfies you, your next step is to write him a letter re-stating what you said to him. Keep the letter short, business-like, and to the point.

Do not threaten or accuse. Keep a copy for your records, and send it with a Delivery Confirmation. Do not send it Certified Return Receipt, because he can refuse delivery for that. If, later on, you need to prove that you asked him to allow the phone calls you will be able to do so.

If your ex still denies your son the phone calls, you could take him to court, and allege that your ex is in violation of the parenting plan to the detriment of your son. A softer touch might be to prepare the court documents, but before filing send a copy to your ex and explain that you plan to file this or a similar document.

My suggestion is to give this a lot of thought before doing it. If he is someone who will become instantly angry, this might be a bad idea. On the other hand, if he is someone who will see that you are serious about your request for your son's bed-time phone calls, he may decide to comply.

Notice: We provide these answers to the general public and our website visitors as a means to further their online legal research. These answers are merely suggestions and should not be regarded as legal advice.

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