Ask a Divorce Lawyer: Can the courts force my ex to keep a phone line so I can call my kids?

Question: My former spouse changes her phone number constantly. She does not have a home phone where I can call my children. She only has a cell phone and in the past 6 months she has had 6 different numbers. 

Can I solicit the courts to order her to have and maintain a land line home phone so I can call my kids?

 

Answer:

I need more information on the context of the number changes.  I do not know if they are in response to someone harassing her or if she just cannot pay her cell phone bill on time. 

Depending on the terms of your divorce decree, she may be required to have a means for you to have contact with your children when she has placement.  I have not reviewed your decree and I do not practice in Rhode Island, therefore, I cannot tell you how the Court would address this situation.  You should contact an attorney licensed in Rhode Island for further guidance.

As an alternative to taking her back to court, have you offered to pay for a landline phone service for her for the sole use of telephone contact with your children?  You could also purchase a prepaid phone for your children which should only be used for calling you. 

 Additionally, there are free services on the internet which would allow you to videoconference with your children if you each have internet access and a webcam.  The reason I ask is that, although these act are probably beyond what is expecting of you, the costs of pursuing an Order from the court may be cost prohibitive considering the other options for contact that may be available to you.

 

Erica Christian is an Associate Attorney in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, office of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. She is licensed to practice law in the state of Wisconsin. She is a member of the Wisconsin Bar Association, the Family Law Section and the Children’s Law Section.

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