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How COVID-19 Has Affected Phone Call Etiquette for Divorced ParentsThe public response to the COVID-19 pandemic has required people to change the ways in which they communicate with each other. In-person visits are being replaced with phone and video calls in order to limit travel and contact with other people. Video chats on your phone or through an application such as Zoom have become a popular way for family members to stay in contact with each other – including divorced parents contacting their children. Some parenting agreements will set a limit for how often one parent is allowed to call their children when they are staying with the other parent. With the extraordinary circumstances that we are currently living in, it may be time to add a provision regarding phone calls to your parenting agreement or modify your existing provision.

Call Etiquette

Co-parents may set limits on calls if they are concerned about the other parent interrupting their parenting time. For instance, the parenting agreement can say that a parent may initiate contact with the children once per day or every other day when the children are with the other parent. The children can contact the parent on their own but should be encouraged to focus on the parent they are with. Frequent or long calls with a child can be harmful to them because:

  • The calling parent may be trying to alienate the child from their other parent
  • The child is not able to adjust to living with the parent if they are constantly being reminded of their other home
  • The calls may make the child anxious but they are afraid to upset their parent by telling them

Changing Circumstances

It may be appropriate to adjust your normal call etiquette because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whereas daily calls may have seemed intrusive before, you should consider that:

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