Questions Posted to "Ask a Dispatcher"
Q. My children will be visiting their father (my ex) soon. They are both under the age of 9. My concern is that he will not let me speak with them via telephone (I live in a different state). How can check on them if this happens?
Dear Juneau Resident,
This type of situation gets called in to police departments all the time but child custody issues are rarely police issues. That is because child custody agreements are civil agreements, like landlord/tenant contracts. Child custody agreements can become police business if a court says someone is not complying with the civil agreement and physical action is needed from police officers to enforce the agreement. This usually has to do with moving the children from one parent to the other. That situation is pretty traumatic for the children and parents should exhaust all other options.
The situation you describe could become an issue for the court that approved your child custody agreement. If you and the ex just can't agree on what is reasonable access to the children. You should consult your own lawyer about the matter. There is probably a legal precedence for what is reasonable telephone access for the physically absent parent.
If you don't want to go through the courts, you can try to find a third party to help negotiate an agreement. Maybe if you work out some problem solving through a third party, you could use that method to resolve issues that come up in the future.
Maybe this issue is an opportunity to lay the groundwork for talking future issues that are bound to occur.