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Is electronic communication in the best interests of a child?

In today' society electronic communication, such as texting and emailing, is second nature to many people. Parents may wonder if a family court considers electronic communications between a parent and child to be in the best interests of the child, and if such communication is considered to foster a healthy relationship between a parent and a child in child custody cases.

Florida residents may find it helpful to learn that under current state law, there is a specific section that addresses about court-ordered electronic communication between a parent and child. Pursuant to this section, a family law judge may order electronic communications between a child and parent to foster an on-going relationship.

However, before ordering it, the court is required under the state statute to consider several factors. These include examining whether such electronic communication would be in the best interests of the child; ensuring that the necessary electronic equipment to promote communication between the parent and child is affordable for the parties, and that it is readily available and accessible to them; whether there is history of domestic abuse or substance abuse with the parent; and any other relevant factors that may help the court make the determination.

It is, however, important to understand that regardless of whether a court orders electronic communication or not, unless there is evidence to the contrary, reasonable telephonic communication between a child and parent will be ordered. Telephonic communication and electronic communication are distinct.

Parents should keep in mind that if a court orders electronic communication, such communication is not intended to replace face-to-face contact with the parent. Instead it is only meant to serve as an additional means of communication. In order for electronic communication to work, the parents will have to share information to facilitate the communication, and notify each other within seven calendar days of any changes.

Florida parents interested in having an on-going healthy relationship with their children may find electronic communication between them and their child to be a good option to stay in touch. Consulting with a family law firm to get more information on this topic may be helpful.

Source: 2015 Florida Statutes, "Court-ordered electronic communication between a parent and a child," Accessed July 27, 2015

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