Sharing custody of a child can be very difficult for a parent – particularly if you aren’t confident about your co-parent’s judgment or responsibility. Even if you have sole physical custody and your ex has only visitation rights, handing your child over for a day can be tough.
As long as your ex hasn’t been granted only supervised visitation (which is generally done only when there’s a history of abuse or neglect), you need to let your child spend time alone with their other parent.
Even if you don’t think your child’s safety is at risk, however, you may still want to know where they are when they’re with your ex. Is that your right?
You can ask your co-parent to provide you with that information. You can also seek to include terms in your parent plan that detail what kinds of places are off-limits or stipulate that no one else can care for your child without your permission. However, even if your co-parent doesn’t go along with those terms, it’s unlikely that a court will step in unless you can show that your child is being harmed or neglected. Judges generally want both parents to have a relationship with their child unless they’re unfit.
Why tracking your child can be a bad idea
If you’re considering tracking your child via their phone, watch or any of the wearable child tracking devices available, you’re not the first parent to have that idea. However, it likely won’t work.
If your child is old enough to have a phone or smartwatch, they’re probably more tech-savvy than you are, which means they’ll spot it. If you hide an airtag in their backpack, you risk them (or their other parent) finding it. Finding a tracking app or device can feel like a serious breach of trust (and privacy) that won’t help your relationship with either your co-parent or your child.
If you have serious concerns about your child’s safety and well-being when they’re with your co-parent, it’s typically best to have a conversation with your ex, if that’s possible. You have a right to ask your child about the time they spend with their other parent, but it’s best to do that casually rather than treat it like an inquisition. If you believe you have grounds for limiting your co-parent’s rights, having legal guidance can help you determine the best course of action.