Divorce, child custody and kids on social media

If you are a divorced or separated parent of a tween or teen who is trying to navigate the minefield of co-parenting with your ex, you may wind up adrift in the shoals. This is especially true when the split is fresh and feelings on all sides run high.

But you consider yourself to be a reasonable adult capable of making good parenting decisions when the kids are under your care. So, why are you and your co-parent at odds over the kids’ use of social media?

Who makes the rules about minors’ screen time?

Children from divorced homes learn quickly how to divide and conquer by pitting one parent against the other. But co-parents should realize that their strength lies in a united front. If you and your ex are poles apart on the issue of screen time for the children, that can be a problem.

One way to spare a lot of arguing is to default to the age requirements set by individual social media sites. It is unrealistic to think that you can keep kids off social media until they turn 18. But it is well within your parental rights to insist that they follow the rules at 8, 9, or 10.

Who has the final say?

Your custody agreement is the roadmap that you and your co-parent will use to navigate these thorny matters. A solid custody agreement deals with the present status quo with the kids as well as considering their future interests. You absolutely can insert a social media clause for the kids and co-parents to follow.

If co-parents can’t agree on the age for the kids’ first online forays, mediation is always an option rather than litigation where a judge determines a family’s fate. If your custody agreement fails to address the question of kids and online screen time, you can always revisit the matter with a custody modification filed with the court.

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