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Abuse Using Technology

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Updated: July 12, 2024

How is technology used in co-parenting situations?

Electronic apps or programs designed for co-parenting situations can facilitate communication between parties and coordinate custody and visitation schedules. They are often used when there is domestic violence and the parents cannot safely communicate by phone, text, or in person with the other parent.

These tools can be especially useful when there is a dispute between you and the co-parent about what was said since there is a record of the communications. If the co-parent is abusive, having a record of the conversation in one place and available to court professionals and your lawyer may deter him/her from using custody and visitation communications to harass you. Additionally, having clear visitation schedules that clarify the custody arrangement can be helpful when parents need to plan vacations or other activities. Using co-parenting tools could also eliminate the child’s exposure to certain high-conflict communications that may otherwise happen in person or over the phone in the child’s earshot.

Are there any risks or limitations with using technology to help with co-parenting communications?

Although your state’s laws may not require the judge to order how parents communicate while co-parenting, the judge might order a co-parenting app if there’s a restraining order in place or if you convince him/her that it’s necessary. However, some judges may be reluctant to issue an order requiring that parents use technology to co-parent for various reasons, including:

  • judges may:
    • not be familiar with technology;
    • not believe they have the power to make that type of order; or
    • find it inappropriate for some other reason, including if the subscription cost to use it is unaffordable for one or both parents. Note: Some companies might have fee waiver programs for those who cannot afford the cost or you might search for a free co-parenting app so that cost isn’t a barrier.

To think through whether or not using these types of apps may work for your situation, you may want to talk to a domestic violence advocate or a lawyer who specializes in custody and domestic violence issues.

You can learn about general custody laws in your state on our Custody page by selecting your state from the drop-down menu.