Modern technology has made its impact on divorce and child custody in Pennsylvania. The seminal movie about child custody from the 1970s, Kramer vs. Kramer, portrayed the struggles of parents in an environment where the mother was typically awarded child custody, and the father was relegated to weekend walks in the park and ice cream cones. Now, courts across the country are more focused on meaningful shared custody. Such an arrangement virtually compels parents to remain in communication, even if they are less than enthusiastic about doing so.
Technological advances have grown to play an important part in this dynamic. Instead of having to endure tense conversations and/or meetings with one’s ex spouse over visitation and custody matters, couples can communicate by text message, email or Skype. Some couples make use of Google calendar or similar applications in order to keep a joint schedule of visitations and important events for the children.
Of course, it is possible to be unpleasant or uncooperative by text message as well, but these forms of written communication provide two important advantages. First, the fact that the messages are typically written instead of oral provides a little distance that can lessen the potential for animosity spilling over into negative confrontations. Second, in those instances where the parties continue to disagree, the record that is made of their communications may provide important evidence should it be necessary to return to court to seek a modification of an existing court order.
By reducing the possibility of negative interactions in front of the children, these computer age alternatives offer a means of keeping the parents’ personal feelings at bay while concentrating on the needs of the children. Of course, not every Pennsylvania child custody disagreement can be solved by this form of communication. In some instances, the responsible solution may be to seek the guidance of a judge to fashion an arrangement that is truly in the best interests of the children. In doing so, any records of written communications, of the lack thereof, may help the court make the right decision.
Source: The New York Times, “Kramer.com vs. Kramer.com,” Pamela Paul, Nov. 23, 2012