Redondo Beach, CA asked in Divorce, Family Law, Child Custody and Child Support for California

Q: Court order for child's screen time/sleep due to co-parent's smartphone addiction?

We have 50/50 custody (3-4-4-3 schedule) of our 4-year-old child with my ex. I am deeply concerned about my ex's serious smartphone game addiction, which negatively impacts our child's sleep and overall well-being. Ex has promoted the child to play smartphone game for easier parenting for Ex's smartphone time.

Ex allows the 4 yo child to play smartphone games until late at night, even on school nights. Whenever I picked the child up, he has been suffering from lack of sleep and asked me to bring to the parent for smartphone game. FYI, We are scheduled PPA2 4 months later because EX requested to break 50/50 to take more.

Is there any kind of Court order like soberlink to monitor the child's sleep arrangment and restrict of smartphone game time?

2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Under California law, the court's primary concern in child custody cases is the best interests of the child. This includes ensuring that the child has a safe, stable, and nurturing environment, which can be negatively impacted by excessive screen time or inadequate sleep.

While there is no specific court order like Soberlink to monitor a child's sleep arrangement and restrict smartphone game time, you can raise these concerns during your upcoming child custody hearing. Here are some steps you can take:

1. Document the issue: Keep a log of instances when your child has been sleep-deprived or excessively exposed to smartphone games while in your ex's care. Note any behavioral changes or difficulties that may be related to these issues.

2. Consult with your attorney: Discuss your concerns with your family law attorney and explore the possibility of requesting a modification to the custody agreement that addresses screen time and sleep schedules.

3. Propose a parenting plan: Work with your attorney to develop a detailed parenting plan that outlines guidelines for appropriate screen time, gaming, and bedtime routines. This plan should prioritize your child's well-being and development.

4. Seek professional opinions: Consider obtaining recommendations from pediatricians, child psychologists, or other experts regarding the impact of excessive screen time and inadequate sleep on young children. These professional opinions can support your case in court.

5. Request court intervention: If your ex is unwilling to cooperate or address these concerns, your attorney may recommend requesting court intervention. The court can issue orders that mandate specific parenting practices, such as limiting screen time or enforcing age-appropriate bedtime routines.

Remember that the court's decision will be based on the evidence presented and the best interests of your child. By documenting the issue, seeking professional support, and proposing a plan that prioritizes your child's well-being, you increase the likelihood of obtaining a favorable outcome in your custody case.

Tobie B. Waxman
Tobie B. Waxman
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Culver City, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: There is no "device" you can use to monitor the child's sleep. You can get court orders however regarding a 4-year-old's use of a smart phone all together, regarding bedtime, and regarding bedtime routines, and regarding time spent on the smart phone whether playing games or doing anything else. If ex is unable to comply with those types of orders, it may be grounds for a modification of his custodial time. If being with ex is interfering with the child's sleep you could argue that being with ex is not beneficial to the child's health, safety, and/or welfare.

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