January 20, 2012

Mother accused of using son to spy on his father

A child custody battle between parents inevitably has an effect on the child. Parents may disagree about the conditions set for visitation, child support and other issues that commonly come up during a child custody case. If one parent is unwilling or unable to abide by obligations set in a custody hearing, there may be legal consequences.

A pattern of consistent interference and inconvenience in a parenting plan is grounds for bringing the matter to the attention of Michigan courts. Whether a parent does not pick up a child for scheduled visitation, denies the other parent time with the child, fails to communicate, or negatively influences the child, these violations can certainly put a strain on the child.

In a recent case, a child was being manipulated by his mother to spy on his father, who currently has custody of the boy. By using the video-chat feature on his iPhone, the boy was allegedly instructed to take videos and pictures of his father. She abused the technology to intrude on her ex-husband’s time with his son.

According to statements, the mother was spending hours on the phone with her son using the FaceTime application on his phone. While she claims she was helping her son with his homework, a judge ruled differently. The judge said that the mother was using the phone as an intrusive weapon and it was becoming a nuisance.

Taking it a step further, the judge then suggested that the boy get rid of his iPhone and have it replaced with a phone that does not have video-chat capabilities. Despite protests from the mother, the judge also upheld a previous ruling that placed the boy in the father’s custody.

The son’s mental health was questioned by the mother, and she claimed he exhibited suicidal tendencies. The stress and anxiety from being used to spy on his father certainly may not have helped.

Parents should remember that Michigan is a “best interests of the child” state. A child can be seriously affected by arguing parents and it is important to make custody and visitation schedules that benefit the child the most. When a parent infringes on that schedule, he or she may jeopardize the welfare of the child.

Source: NY Daily News, “10-year-old told to get rid of iPhone,” Oren Yaniv, Jan. 12, 2012