Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C.
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Ways to Stay Connecting in Custody Cases

One of the sad realities of divorcing when you have children is that there will be times when they will not be with you, sometimes, large periods of time if you are the parent with partial custody or even when you share joint physical custody. Sometimes, grandparents are also faced with separation from grandchildren due to divorce, death of their adult child, or incarceration of their adult child. Although you cannot always be with your child or grandchild, there are things that you can do to ensure that you are still connected to their life on a regular basis.

One of the greatest outcomes of improved technology is the ability to communicate in real time by way of video conferencing. If you and your loved one has an iphone, you can facetime over your phone. This allows you to see the other person over your phone which provides as greater sense of connection. Just today, I was able to facetime with my sister who was on a mountain skiing and I was able to watch my six year old niece ski with her dad for the first time. Although I was miles away, I was able to witness this event at the time it was happening. How amazing is that? I realize that not everyone has an iphone or can afford an iphone. If you can, it is an incredible tool for staying connected. It is very easy to use, so much so that even my three year old son is able to pick up the phone and facetime with his grandmother without me doing anything. It may require a little bit of effort in placing a photo of the person next to their facetime number, but once it set up, it is ready to go.

Another option would be to SKYPE. This requires access to a computer on both ends and the program downloaded on each computer. This a popular way of videoconferencing in Europe and is equally valuable here. You can communicate by video with your loved one but you will have to coordinate so that you are both online at the same time.

If you are not able to communicate through video, you can stay connected through other ways such as text messaging, phone calls,  facebook, other social media applications, sending letters in the mail, showing up for public events that the child may be involved in.  These are the traditional ways of communicating and they work great as long as you put the effort in to staying connected. 

There are many opportunities to connect if you make the effort. If the other parent is placing obstacles in your path, you may need to get the terms set forth in writing in a custody order as to your rights on using these means to stay connected. If you work together, you can, however, create an opportunity for both parents to be very involved and connected regardless of where the child physically lives.

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