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Smart phones are the child custody issue no one is talking about


Parents usually address issues of custody, parenting time and visitation during divorce, but what about more complex issues such as discipline? Although the idea of determining how one parent can discipline a child in his or her own home can be uncomfortable, there is some merit to dealing with complex issues, such as smart phone use, during child custody proceedings. Otherwise, parents could potentially find themselves in uncomfortable legal situations. 

The arrest of an out-of-state mother seems to eerily mirror the arrest of a Texas father some time ago. According to reports, the mother disciplined her 15-year-old daughter, taking away the teen’s smart phone as punishment. Her ex-husband then called the police, claiming the mother had actually stolen the phone since he had purchased it. She was arrested earlier in 2018 but did not go to court until September, when the charges were dropped. As it turned out, the daughter — not her ex-husband — owned the phone. 

Disputes over discipline between different households are not uncommon. Most, however, do not involve criminal charges. Parents can usually expect to manage use of technology — including smart phones — in their own homes, placing limits where they see necessary. In rare cases, a court might order that a child have regular access to his or her phone. 

Smart phones can be particularly contentious matters between divorced parents. As such, Texas parents may want to consider discussing how they will handle discipline in regards to phones early on in the divorce process. In many cases, including this type of information in a child custody agreement can help minimize future conflicts. 

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