It can be difficult for newly separated parents to adjust to the fact that their soon-to-be ex will have sole responsibility for their child sometimes – even if it’s only a day or two a week. Assuming there aren’t abuse or neglect issues that warrant the court ordering supervised visitation, co-parents need to develop some mutual trust to keep their child safe and well.
Do you have a right to know where your child is when they’re under your co-parent’s care? You can seek to include that in your custody order and parenting plan. Most parents include requirements that they be notified and provide consent for their co-parent to take their child outside another state or over a certain distance. You can also try to add even more restrictive language to require your co-parent to tell you what they’re doing even when they’re in the area.
Finding the right balance
This can be an onerous requirement for everyone involved – including you. You’ll probably be expected to reciprocate. Do you really want to provide your co-parent with a list of all the places you and your child go on a Saturday outing?
If you have specific concerns, you can seek to include restrictions about specific places your ex cannot take your child if they have a history of taking them to shooting ranges, bars and other places you think are harmful. If you have concerns about some of your ex’s friends or family, you can also work to prohibit (at least unaccompanied) contact with them.
Is tracking an option?
With so much tracking technology available, it can be tempting to put a tracking app on your child’s phone or sew an AirTag into their backpack. That can backfire when your child or co-parent ultimately notices it. Your child may be the one who’s most harmed by what they see as a breach of trust. Your ex could make an argument in court that by tracking your child, you’re tracking them.
Every situation is unique, so it’s crucial to have sound legal guidance when determining how much control you should seek when your child is with their other parent. This can help you arrive at a solution that gives you peace of mind while still allowing your ex and your child to build their relationship amid your family’s changed dynamic.