When The Custodial Parent Blocks Communication with the Kids

What to do when the custodial parent blocks communication with the kids is a common question from long distance parents.

“My ex continues to make excuses as to why she does not answer her phone, which is my only contact with my kids. She is in one state and I am in another. My question is…is there anyway to make my ex legally responsible to answer her phone when I call? “


Is there anyway to make my ex legally responsible to answer her phone when I call?


Although a judge might never tell your co-parent they have to answer the phone, a judge will probably enforce reasonable requests to talk to your kids. The challenge is making the case so that the judge can see what’s happening. Although it might be clear to you it’s happening, no doubt, your co-parent has a different story.

Can I call the police if the custodial parent blocks communication with the kids?

In some in person child exchanges, this might be an option. However, with phone communication, the police will likely refer you to the courts. The police really have no way of making the co-parent cooperate. Instead, that is more likely the domain of court orders and being held in contempt, when the court orders are not followed.

Build your Case

The first thing to do is to begin documenting every single contact or attempted contact with your child. This can be a simple spreadsheet (google sheets is free). Every time you call your kids, record the date, time, and method (phone, video etc). Also, for each, record the outcome. Did you talk to your kids, and if so, how long? Did the custodial parent block communication with your kids? If so, what happened or what was the reason?

Back this up by getting copies of your phone records. Your cell phone bill may include a record of every call that was made. If it does not, contact your cell phone company and they can provide that to you. Go through your bill and identify each line item that corresponds with a line item on your record. You can highlight them or number them with corresponding numbers. Foxit PDF offers a free version of their software that allows highlighting and typing if you prefer to do it electronically.

How much you need is hard to say. Gather evidence until someone unfamiliar with your situation would agree that there is a pattern of denying contact. This is definitely more than a few phone calls.

File a Motion in Court

Once you have your evidence, you file a motion in court in the state that has jurisdiction over the custody case. Every state has different ways to go about this so visit or call or look up the website for that state or district family court system to find out how to do it. Once you’ve filed, you will get a hearing date that you both have to be present for.

If you don’t have an attorney, you will either have to travel there for the hearing – or some court rooms allow you to call in. Check with that court system to find out. The court clerk can typically give you general information. Your other option is to hire an attorney in that court district who can do it for you. If you have an attorney, they can go to court for you and you often don’t have to travel there for the hearing.

At your hearing, the judge will listen to both sides and make a decision. The judge is making this decision purely (hopefully) on the evidence and arguments presented. Even if you are completely in the right, if you can’t make your case, you won’t necessarily win. What the judge says goes so convincing the judge is key. Once the decision is made, if mom doesn’t follow it, you can go back to court and complain and action can be taken against her. But, even in that follow up, you will still need to have evidence and a case. So, if your co-parent is blocking phone calls with your kids, make sure that from this day forward, you document everything, even once you have a judgment.

I’m not an attorney and this is not legal advice. I don’t know the whole story, only what’s been presented. This is from my own limited experience only.

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Rebecca
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Rebecca

So what happens when the only form of communication is via phone but their father keeps bashing me (our kids Mother) every time he calls!? he tells me to die, says vulgar things to me through the kids. I keep documenting the phone calls and i’ve asked him to stop several times via email so its documented but he keeps doing it. I want to block him and not answer his calls anymore. Is that legal? Our kids are 17months and 2-1/2. It’s crazy. He thinks im not giving the kids the phone. They’re too young to talk on the… Read more »

Carrie
Guest

What you are describing is inappropriate behavior for either the custodial or non custodial parent.  I’m not an attorney and I can’t give you legal advice. That said, in order to do anything, you first have to have proof that it’s happening.  Document it, collect proof.  Then either follow up by pursuing custody or visitation changes through your custody case, or if there is an imminent threat, with your local police department.   I wouldn’t advise blocking his calls unless you’ve gone to court to ask the judge if that is ok.  The post you are responding to is about exactly… Read more »

Steven A. Arena Jr.
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Steven A. Arena Jr.

Hello I’m a 27 year old father of a 6 year old little boy. I live in Brooklyn NY he lives in Daytona FL his mother is court ordered to have him call me at least once every other day. I’m a phlebotomist and my hours vary. If I do not answer or can not talk she reblocks me for another 2 days. I’m included in nothing that goes on my sons life she informs me of nothing and actually told the judge she goes through every loop possible and asks for every favor possible to not include me and… Read more »

Kryss
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Kryss

Im having the same issue…my twins are just 20months amd its already hectic as a single mother so i dont have time for video calls

Robby
Guest
Robby

Hi, I bought an iPad for my 8 yr old daughter who lives in another state. The iPad has data usage so I do not have to depend on her mother to have wifi. Last summer when she came to visit me I allowed them access to the iPad as well. I pay for the iPad monthly and have not asked them to help pay. This summer I have debated on blocking the family in the other state due to the mother not making sure the iPad is charged or helping me contact my child when the iPad is off.… Read more »

Jordan
Member
Jordan

Hey, similar situation. My son is 500 miles away. I work and go to school full time so weekend visits are just not possible. I get him for holidays and 42 days in the summer. Bought him an iPad a few years ago and his mother strictly limits it to the 3 hours a week that she is legally required to make him available for. He is 8. How I have handled this situation is by telling him that he can talk to his mother whenever he wants when he is with me. Because she is his mom. And it… Read more »

Robby
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Robby

Same situation, when she is with me for 7 weeks in the summer her mother never calls. My daughter and I facetimed all the time, she enjoyed doing her homework with me over the iPad. I surprised my daughter with a Disney trip and when we returned she wouldn’t contact me at all on iPad. My 8 year old then gave me the iPad back and told me it stresses her out. I’m so thrown back my this, not sure what she is being told. It hurts, I would never be vindictive even though it is hard not to.

WolfMom
Member

Hi Robbie , Your lucky at least you get facetime with your daughter I don’t even get that. I get told that they don’t have a phone and internet . The stepmom is really nasty to me and my daughter’s the things that she sends me on FB messenger are just unbelievable I could never talk to someone the way she talks to me and my children .I’m wondering if I can use any of that against my ex when I file the motion to petition the court for remodification ? I need to see my girls and they need… Read more »

Melissa
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Melissa

My exhusband has primary custody of our 7 year old daughter. In our agreement, it says that I am allowed to call every night at 7:30 with no specification on how I am to contact her. I call and he doesn’t answer. I call multiple times a night and get nothing. I trying calling his wife and get told not to contact her. And they won’t give me thier house number. I am lucky to talk to her once a week. Then when she asks to call me, she is told if I wanted to talk to her I would… Read more »

Diana Muniz
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Diana Muniz

You can file a motion for Contempt! If it’s stated in the agreement and he doesn’t abide. He will get in trouble.

WolfMom
Member
WolfMom

Hi Rebekah ,I know exactly how you feel my ex has our two teenage daughters and they live in Fla we have what Fla calls shared parental responsibility anyway they live with him the divorce States that I am to have telephonic communic ation with my girls t all times well he refuses to do that he got remarried and his current wife now thinks she has control over when I can see and talk talk to my girls .She has threatened me by telling me to give up my rights because I don’t pay my court ordered child support… Read more »

Denali
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Denali

I am dealing with the exact situation. We even live in TJE same state and I haven’t spoke with my babies in months and months. Pool Cal and am told that these re at grandmas and when I call her she say they are with their dad. It’s Mt daughters 13th birthday TODAY and I called and texted and was told to ask child support of I wanted to see or talk with them. I’m a wreck and dreaming them every night. Thwybare made to feel as if they are bad for bringing me up or missing me and only… Read more »

Anna-Lisa
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Anna-Lisa

what about when both parents share 50-50% custody but one parent has blocked all calls from the father and his side of the family? is this legal?

Christine
Guest

Hi…
I have a question…
I live in NJ and my daughters father lives in Florida… He hasn’t seen our daughter in 10 years and is only paying half of the amount monthly for child support…
We have no Communication at all…
Does he have to supply me with his phone number???

Thanks

Mjsquatch
Guest
Mjsquatch

Here is another twist on custodial phone call issues. My wife obtained a restraining order on me and I get 4 calls a week. The kids are 10 and 12, so usually I look forward to this.
About a month ago the ex starts answering nearly every time. She had not been for the first three months. I just simply ask for my kids by name. I don’t know what the motive is. My lawyer didn’t say much other than to approve of my handling it.
Anyone else have thoughts on this?

Ryan Lucio
Guest
Ryan Lucio

I could really use some advice. I’m not very good with dealing with this sort of thing, and I have a complicated situation. I have been an absentee noncustodial parent. We were not married, and it didn’t go well. We split up due to financial problems, and I couldnt provide for even myself and I knew I couldn’t be there for her or my daughter. I’ve had a patchy work history, and stability is difficult to achieve, but I am something like stable now. I live in Florida, my daughter and her mother live in Mississippi, and the child support… Read more »

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