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When can virtual contact with a parent be blocked?

North Carolina parents who are embroiled in child custody disputes sometimes wonder if they are allowed to block their children's other parents from communicating with them via email, text message or social media. Technological advances have helped noncustodial parents have many new ways to keep connected with their children. Some courts have started issuing virtual visitation orders which allow noncustodial parents to have virtual contact with their children when they are with the custodial parents.

When disputes exist about excessive emails, texts or Skypes, courts may establish schedules for the contact. Parents generally should not block their exes' abilities to connect with their children using these mediums unless they are harassing or abusing the custodial parents or the children.

Before blocking the noncustodial parents, custodial parents should be aware that doing so may make the situation worse. The children may be upset by suddenly having less contact with their noncustodial parents, and the relationship between the parents may become more bitter. Courts may not look favorably on parents who prevent the others from having contact with their children.

Parents who are being harassed or abused by their children's other parents when those parents are using technology for virtual visitation might benefit from consulting with family law attorneys who might help by filing motions to modify the virtual visitation schedule. By informing the courts of the pattern of harassing or abusive behavior, the attorneys may be able to limit the noncustodial parents' ability to continue contacting the children in that way. Attorneys may also be able to help noncustodial parents whose contact has been limited by their children's custodial parents.

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