Ryan Family Law, P.C.
Ryan Family Law, P.C.

Elgin, Illinois

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Can you track your child when they’re with your ex?

Despite the tracking apps available for phones and other electronic devices, many parents don’t believe in tracking their kids. That’s especially true when they get into their teens and they can see this as a breach of trust.

After separation or divorce, however, many people’s trust issues are with their co-parent. Even if they don’t think their co-parent is endangering their child, they may not be confident that they aren’t keeping them out too late, taking them to get pizza every night when they claim to be cooking them healthy meals or bringing them along when they go to visit friends with questionable values. Do you have a right to electronically track your child during your co-parent’s parenting time?

Creating an effective custody agreement

If you’re still working out your custody agreement and parenting plan, you probably won’t be sanctioned by the court for doing this unless your co-parent argues that you’re actually tracking them. However, if you try to track your child without their or your co-parent’s knowledge, you may risk harming your relationship with both of them. 

Remember, too, that if your child is old enough to have a phone or other device like a watch that can have a tracking app, they will likely notice and remove it. Even if you slip an AirTag into your little one’s backpack, they or your co-parent will probably find it.

If you want to include a provision in your parenting plan that you’re allowed to track your child, it will need to be reciprocal. That means your co-parent can know where your child (and you) are when you’d rather they didn’t. The same is true if you seek a provision that requires information about what you’re doing or where you’re going during your parenting time.

A better way to address concerns about your ex’s parenting is to work to include provisions in your parenting plan addressing these concerns – like how late your child can be out on a school night. Unless a parent is doing something that endangers a child’s well-being or traveling with them farther than the custody agreement allows, there’s little you can do about it.

If you have concerns that are leading you to consider tracking your child while they’re with your co-parent, it’s best to discuss them with your legal team. There are likely other options that can help you ensure your child’s well-being without violating anyone’s trust or privacy.

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