Sunbury, PA asked in Child Custody, Criminal Law, Divorce and Family Law for Pennsylvania

Q: Am I allowed to video or photograph my child if I am not the primary custodial parent?

Father has stated that he is refusing to allow me to video, audio, or photograph ANY member of HIS family, including OUR own children. Exact words from an email- "To reiterate, I do not agree to you or David taking pictures, or video, or audio recording me, my family, or my wife. Recording/taking pictures is an infringement on our privacy."

We have had to install a DashCam due to threats and outbursts from his wife during pick ups (on their property, in a cul de sac) and a security camera on our own property due to same and physical damage to our property from father's wife during exchanges.

I video tape, photograph my children during events or during my custodial period.

We do not use audio on the DashCam or Ring Camera as we know PA is a two-consent state.

2nd question- if we are video taping my child in a public place and happen to catch husband/family video or audio, can any threats be used in court?

1 Lawyer Answer
Penelope A. Boyd
Penelope A. Boyd
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • West Chester, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: People take pictures of family members all the time. When they are your kids and you are just taking their picture for a memory of an event or otherwise, unless you have a custody order to the contrary, there should be no issue. If you are posting pictures of your kids on social media, it should be appropriate and not embarrass them or the other parent.

It sounds like part of your problem is the contentious custody exchanges. Children don't need to be in the middle any more than they have to, so if the exchanges are full of anger and threats, you want to reduce that. I often suggest to parents that they make the exchanges in a public area, which may or may not have video cameras, to reduce the level of conflict at an exchange. If you are concerned for your physical safety, make the exchange at a police station. If the other parent's significant other is a problem, that person does not usually have to go to a custody exchange, or get out of the car if they have to be there.

What you are trying to do is avoid arguments and threats. A custody court will look more at how you attempt to reduce the nastiness than wade into an argument over who can take pictures of whom. If you make the effort to make exchanges more pleasant for your kids, a judge is more likely to see you as a parent who is more interested in her children's welfare than in fighting with the other parent. That can only be helpful for you and your kids.

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