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Technology can lead to challenges to fathers' rights

With the advent of ever more sophisticated forms of technology, keeping in touch has never been easier. Whether you use email, text messaging, online scheduling or social media, staying in touch takes far different forms today than in years past. For Massachusetts couples who divorce or separate, issues of child custody can be made much smoother by choosing a remote form of communication, especially when parents cannot get along in person. However, when one parent chooses to use technology as a weapon, it can cause significant problems for the relationship between the child and the other parent. Many who support fathers' rights see potential problems with relying on technology to have access to one's child.

A recent study looked into the ways that divorced couples use technology in regard to child custody issues. Researchers discovered that when former spouses maintained a positive relationship, technology was used to facilitate custody exchanges, keep both parents in the loop regarding the child's activities, and make sure that both parents stayed on the same page in regard to the kids' schedules. However, when parents did not enjoy an amicable relationship, technology was often used by one parent to limit the other's access to the child.

By simply avoiding answering text messages and email, some parents seek to limit the amount of time that the other parent has with the child. In some cases, parents admitted to pretending that they never received email. This type of behavior not only brings further tension between the parents, it can also bring harm to the children who are caught in the middle.

This study suggests that technology can be something of a double-edged sword, and can be misused to harm the parent/child relationship and limit fathers' rights. For Massachusetts fathers who feel that their access to their kids is being unfairly limited by the other parent, there is legal recourse available. Fathers can ask a family court judge to create a custody order that clearly defines the rights of access to the child as well as to information concerning their activities. If the negative behaviors continue, there are remedies available through contempt proceedings.

Source: AtlantaBlackstar.com, "Divorced Parents Use Technology to Facilitate Co-Parenting or Control Parent's Access to Children," Aug. 29, 2012

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