Writing your parenting plan? Don’t forget to include electronics in your agreement

Writing your parenting plan? Don’t forget to include electronics in your agreement

If you’re divorcing when your children are still very young, you may be thinking most about preserving your parenting time and protecting your relationship with them. Those are both very important things to concentrate on when you’re writing your parenting plan — but don’t forget to include certain other elements in your arrangement such as the provisions regarding the use of electronics.

Electronic devices are an inescapable part of modern existence, but parents often disagree about how much they should be used and what access a child should have to them. Making some agreements now about how electronics will be handled can help you avoid trudging your way back into court over the issue later.

What’s the right way to handle electronics in your parenting plan?

Every family is unique, and your parenting agreement should be tailored specifically to your family’s values and needs, so there’s no right or wrong way to handle electronics. Instead, it’s more important to reach a consensus that you and your ex-spouse can use in the future as guidance when issues do arise.

What are the major questions about electronics your plan should address?

Electronics tend to change rapidly, so it’s best to think in broad strokes about the big issues that tend to crop up. Consider these examples:

  • What latitude does each parent have to buy electronics for the kids without asking? For example, is it acceptable for either of you to buy iPads for the kids at Christmas without asking the other parent first?
  • What restrictions should be placed on your children’s use of electronics? Is screen time unlimited or sharply restricted? When is a child “old enough” to have a cell phone? What right does each parent have to restrict electronic use when a child misbehaves?
  • Who will pay for the bills associated with some electronics? Cell phone bills can get pricey, especially when there are several kids in the family, and game systems lead to all kinds of extra expenses.

Working out the details of a parenting plan is difficult when you’ve never done it before. An experienced advocate can provide invaluable insights that can make the entire process easier.

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