In this episode, we'll explore tips for entering into an electronic device agreement with your coparent. We'll discuss how this agreement could impact your coparenting situation, and how you can mitigate the risks of coparenting with a child using an electronic device.
If you're contemplating entering into an electronic device agreement with your coparent, be sure to listen to this episode first! We'll give you tips on how to protect your coparenting rights and stay safe in this difficult situation. For legal assistance or mediation services, contact us at (630) 891-2478 or at www.birtlaw.com.
To Listen to Episode 8, CLICK HERE.
To Watch Episode 8, CLICK HERE.
[00:00] Erin Birt: Welcome to the Restorative Divorce Podcast, where we focus on all things divorce and parenting related to help you find clarity, stay informed, and stay out of family court. With 20 plus years of family law experience, our attorney and mediator, Erin Birt, has seen too many times how family court will negatively impact your health, your relationship with your kids, and your wallet. This podcast aims to turn that around and empower our listeners to take back control of their family law process and their lives by working with divorced professionals that seek to help and not hurt. Our goal is to provide you with expert tips that you can implement today to restore your finances, emotional wellbeing and coparenting skills. Of course, our team at birtlaw.com is always here to customize a restorative divorce plan for you, but for now, listen to this episode to get help today.
[01:02] Erin Birt: Today I want to talk to you about child custody issues coparenting issues with electronic devices.
I've recently had a few cases where this is becoming a bigger concern between two households. How do parents feel about electronic devices? How are the children using electronic devices and are they abusing their privileges or are they getting in trouble while using electronic devices? These all become coparenting issues, and sometimes they become custody issues.
So some of the things that you have to consider when you are co parenting is having an electronic device agreement. Not all parenting plans will have that type of specificity. It's an extra document that you can talk about with your mediator, you can talk about with your attorney, it's an important document.
Having both households use the same agreement will set boundaries and standards for your child. It will allow parents to coparent more effectively. And if issues do arise, then you can go back to this mutual agreement and you either can say, “we're having problems with this” and you need to adjust the agreement, or you might say that a parent is not following it or the child not following the agreement and seek mediation to discuss what are your next steps.
People will often ask me, how do I come up with an electronic device agreement for my child or children? And there's a few options. If I'm your attorney, I can always guide you through that process and give you the details of how you can have an enforceable electronic device agreement. As a mediator, if I'm working with both couples, we can develop a very custom electronic agreement and you might have some input from others that are involved with your child that we can discuss in mediation. For instance, the school your child attends might be having discussions with you about problems with use of either the school's electronic devices or perhaps they're hearing or seeing problems with a child using an electronic device inappropriately at school. If working with a mental health professional or a counselor, they might have guidance and input as to what is the structure or guidelines that should be used for a child that is regularly using electronic devices. Even pediatricians sometimes will have some input on how to limit electronic device use for the health of a child. But I can as your attorney, give you details.
You can find a plethora of information on the internet online, maybe even through ChatGPT, as to what kind of an electronic device document do you need. And that's a good starting point. We have a blog online that covers this particular issue as well. And again, it's a good starting point, but I can help you with the details in preparing that document for your particular family, for your particular child, and for your particular needs whether you're trying to stay out of hurtful court, whether you're already in court and you just need somebody to help guide you back out of it and find a resolution for an electronic device issue.
So some of the things that need to be included in your electronic device agreement are common questions that again, they're general questions, but you will have the details for how to answer those questions. And some of those questions are what devices are the children allowed to have or use? If your kids are really young, you should come up with an agreement about what age is appropriate for a child to have an electronic device, such as a gizmo, an iPad, an iPhone, an Android phone, anything like that, or a tablet. Your children might already have these things. Maybe through your separation, you already started your child with some sort of communication device just so that you could have organized communication between households. And that's fine, but there might be some details and some fine tuning that you need to do to help when you're co parenting and to help with any frustrations that you might be experiencing due to electronic devices.
Other things to consider are who will pay for the electronic device?
How much screen time can your children have with an electronic device?
What social media is permitted? Schools are really opening children's eyes to social media. They're also trying to educate about safety and social media, but ultimately it's up to the parents to decide. It's always evolving, so it might be something that you need to review again in mediation at another time as your children grows, as the social media platforms change, or as your concerns change.
Also parents should discuss do the children need to share their passwords and will tracking devices be allowed through electronic devices? I can tell you that when this becomes problematic in custody litigation, a lot of times courts will say you are not permitted, or you're prohibited from using a tracking device. However, for your particular needs or your child's particular needs, as co parents, you might decide that this is acceptable. But again, it's all in the details, it's all in the factual circumstances of your family as to whether or not tracking devices are appropriate.
[07:19] Erin Birt: When you are trying to work on your electronic device agreement, I would use a team approach. First and foremost, that team is you and your co parent. Then adding in a divorce or parenting mediator is your next best step. You can get around the table, discuss the details instead of just using general information found on the web. You can also include a divorce attorney or a custody attorney if you feel that you need additional support, additional knowledge about the law, and your options. Using a custody attorney to develop, draft, and negotiate your electronic device agreement would be appropriate. You can also use an attorney to review any documents that you've prepared or to use them as a limited scope or an unbundled attorney to prepare this document. Here at Birt Law, we provide all of those services.
I've had cases where we mediate and the parties craft their own agreement, and I've had cases where I work as an ala carte or unbundled attorney where I'm drafting that agreement for families to sign. And if there is an issue down the road, then the court might reach just to see what both parents were agreeing to as it relates to an electronic device agreement. So there's many different approaches. Here at Bert Law, we do like the team approach. We include our clients. It's a client centered approach. We include professionals, we include mental health professionals and seek their input as to what is appropriate for an electronic device agreement. And we include child specialists as well. And so if you would like that team based approach, the team could just be a mediator and you and your co parent. Or if you need specialists and you need to fine tune those details, contact us. We're here to help you. You can reach out at 630-891-2478 or find us at www.birtlaw.com. You can also connect with us through social media because we will always be posting things about electronic agreements, especially because it is a very important topic. That's been a very important topic these days. Until next time, take care.
[09:51] Erin Birt: Thanks for listening to the Restorative Divorce podcast with your host, attorney and mediator, Erin Birt and our paralegal, Tyler Birt. A special thanks to our contributors and to the authors of the many articles that inspire us and keep our clients informed. We hope you enjoyed our deep dive into the separation, divorce, or parenting tips covered today that you can use now to help restore yourself.
[10:17] Erin Birt: If you strive to improve your life or the lives of your children after a separation or divorce, join us next week when we will cover more Restorative Divorce topics. You can head over to Birtlaw.com to get the podcast transcripts, follow us on social media, and even find more valuable family law information, all for your benefit. Get help today and work with us one on one. Contact us to set up a consultation or planning session to start rebuilding your life today. Enjoy this day and we'll see you next time.