Robert G. Smith, PLLC

Co-parenting and screen time rules after a divorce

New York parents might differ in their opinions about how much game time is acceptable for their children. When they divorce and one parent has concerns about the other parent allowing a child to play video or smartphone games all of the time, tensions can rise. Family therapists believe that consistent rules across both households benefit children the most, but resolving differences in parenting styles can be difficult.

If one parent ignores the other's requests to apply screen time rules consistently, then the parent can either let the issue go or ask a family court to intervene. Acceptance of the other parent's behavior presents the easiest option. The concerned parent can enforce the rules when the children are home and disregard what goes on elsewhere.

Going to court to impose rules upon the other parent will prove to be difficult. Although courts take the best interests of children seriously, a parent will need to clearly show that too much screen time is harming children. Evidence that the children cannot pay attention in school or that they are missing out on other normal activities because of excessive electronics usage will need to be presented in court. Cellular records showing prolonged and heavy data usage might be convincing. A judge might intervene if a compelling case can be made.

When parents end their marriage, they will need to consider many parenting issues, including their child custody schedule, schooling and issues about relocation. The services of an attorney might keep these negotiations on track and prevent disputes from forcing the family into court. A person could be kept abreast of parental rights by an attorney while discussing child custody. Financial issues like child support could also be addressed by an attorney, who could explain how support payments would be calculated.

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