Dad Won't Let Me Talk to My Kids on the Phone

Updated on June 22, 2011
J.B. asks from Albany, CA
26 answers

My kids' dad is getting married next weekend and is away with the kids for 10 days. I sent him a photo on his phone to show to my kids and he said he doesn't want to show them and doesn't want me to have any contact with them until they come back. Is that even legal? They don't have their own phone. All of our contact is through our phones. When I am away with the kids he calls them all the time. Does anyone have any ideas of what I should do? This feels crazy and manipulative to me, and I feel that it has a lot to do with the new stepmom.

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the responses. I want to clarify that I am NOT trying to get in the way of the wedding. I was not asking to talk to the kids every day, and all I did was send a photo that would have taken 5 seconds for him to show them, and the wedding is days away still. The reason that I suspect the stepmom is that this is WAY out of character for their dad, but things like this have been happening a lot more since she showed up on the scene. Don't get me wrong though- other than her weird manipulative and competitive behavior with me, I think she's great with my kids. They really enjoy her and she does fun stuff with them and I don't have a problem with her presence in their lives. However, now that they are a family, she and my ex are certainly acting like they are trying to one up me. He never ever would have kept me from my kids before. Now suddenly he can't find the time to show my kids a photo. My kids are 10 and 12. They aren't going to be upset by the thought of being separated with me, I just want to have a little bit of contact. It definitely doesn't have to be every day. I'm fact, if he had spent the 5 seconds and shown them the photo at sone point in the 10 days I would have felt pretty okay. It was his response that freaked me out: I don't want you to contact us any more at all until the kids cone back. Which by the way, is at sone undetermined time. He won't even tell me what day they are coming home. I don't think over reacting. I want the wedding to be relaxed and fun for everybody. They are at a campground right now just hanging out and swimming. They aren't in the middle of a rehearsal dinner. They could look at a photo and it wouldn't be the end of the world. It may not be illegal, but it's insane.

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answers from San Francisco on

I think you should ask him how HE would feel is HE had to go 10 days without speaking to his kids......

Edit My Answer
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answers from Biloxi on

My custody decree states that neither parent can prevent phone contact while the minor child is with them.

Unless you have something spelling out something similar in your custody decree he can do this.

Oh, it is crazy and manipulative of him, but not illegal.

So sorry you are going through this.

Check with your cell phone carrier and see what a family plan will cost....mine, through ATT, only costs $12 a month for an additional phone line. You maybe able to afford to get your kids a cell phone to take with them when they are with their Dad.

God Bless

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


Pull out your divorce decree and your custodial agreement...

find out what it says about communication while with the custodial parent.

If he is out of state with the kids - is he allowed to take them out of state? If not - then call the police and state abduction - yes, I know VERY EXTREME - but really - what he's doing is totally wrong - while not illegal if it not clearly stated in the custodial agreement ....would it ruin his upcoming wedding? probably. would it teach him a lesson? most definitely!!

Get the custodial agreement refined to include custodial and non-custodial contact during visitation - will it cost money? yes. but then this won't happen again in the future...either way - get it BOTH of you have contact with the children while they are with the other parent...and if he and his new wife don't like it? TOO FRICKING BAD!!! If either one of them had some maturity to them - this wouldn't be an issue.....

I would find out where they are and go to them as well..(I know, extreme - but I can be that way when it comes to my kids)! I would NEVER want my kids to think I'd forgotten them or don't love them anymore...even when I go away on my own, I call my kids at LEAST once a day to say good night...

I hope you get resolution to this soon and your ex pulls his head out of his A$$ and grows up..

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I remember when my neice was younger and she would visit her dad (my stepbrother) her mother would call and intentionally make her upset ("Mommy misses you so much!" or "I am just so lonely here by myself!"). She would do this just out of spite and to make the visit miserable for everyone. My niece would be in a bad mood and/or cry to go home to mom. So I completely understand him avoiding that type of situation. I know you miss your kids, but they are his kids too and they are probably just busy with the wedding.

My advice is to just let them enjoy this time without you and for you to do the same. Go have a nice glass of wine (or a couple shots) and relax and enjoy a quiet house. :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Is it possible that he is just very busy with... ya know? Planning and getting ready to get MARRIED?? and he doesn't really want to spend this time dealing with you and having to deal with your text pictures?

I do not mean for that to sound nasty...just practical. I bet he is busy and this is supposed to be a special time for him and his new family/wife.

I think it is best to give him the benefit of the doubt. How many times have you called them? If and when you talk to him next I bet if you are nice and just let him know how much you miss the kids and that you are NOT intentionally trying to butt into his (soon to be their) time and disrupt their special time, it's just that you would like to talk to the kids maybe before they go to bed or every other day?

Try to look at it from their point of view: They are getting married and probably have a million things to do and you are calling him on his phone and sending him pictures (probably stuff that can wait til they get home) while he is supposed to be GETTING MARRIED!

*As always I am not surprised by some of your other responses...lots of woman on here will just blindly side with you and call your ex bad names (when they do not know anything about him other than he is THE MAN-Sheesh!) when what it boils down to is he is getting married and you are bugging them on the guise of 'wanting to speak to the kids'.

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answers from San Francisco on

omg, forget legal or ethical, people- have a heart, mom to mom- how hard that must be for you- you are their mom and have of course a right to talk to your babies wehn you want no matter how old. That sounds frightening to me and very upsetting to not be allowed to have any contact w/your kids- een just a quick text to know they're safe and ok. I don't like it- I know you'll be so relieved to have them back in your arms. There are some heartless responses here, "leave them alone, stop being a nuisance", sounds pretty disrespecful as you are their mom!!!

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answers from Hartford on

Is it possible that he thinks that if they have contact with you during this really busy and stressful time that the kids will get upset and bother him to leave? This is a time when he and the kids shouldn't really have any distractions and he's not trying to keep the kids away from you... he does have them on his time, correct? If something happened that you needed to know you would be contacted. And I'd bet if the kids hounded him like crazy to talk to you, he would have to break down and let them call you.

For now, I would be gracious and let him have this time with the kids. It's not long and won't last forever. You can probably use it as a bargaining chip down the road when you need a favor.

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answers from Minneapolis on

It isn't illegal, and unless you have the specifics of phone calling written into your divorce decree, it isn't even something you can do anything about. Depending on the age of your children, I would think about getting them a phone to take with them when visiting their father in the future. Then, if he does not allow contact, you may need to take legal action.

We had to deal with this with my stepkids all the time. We eventually had to have exact hours that we were "allowed" to call them written into a court document. Even then, if we did the slightest thing that upset their mother or stepfather, or maybe we did nothing at all, their phone didn't get answered. Or the children were constantly "unavailable". We never, not once, no matter what time she called, kept their mother from talking with the children when they were visiting us.

Iin the end, you can't make them let you contact your children when they are with them. You may want to explain that, in a neutral manner, to your kids before next time, so they know you are thinking about them, if they don't hear from you. Like "I know that you are busy having a good time with your father when you are there, so if you don't hear from me, know that I am thinking of you. Have fun and I'll see you soon!"

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answers from Glens Falls on

That's ridiculous. You can't go ten days without speaking to your kids! Tell him that you don't want to get in the way of his wedding so he can pick a time that is the best time for him for you to say Hi and I love you to the kids each day. If he won't agree to this very reasonable request, you will need to take him back to court to prevent this type of behavior in the future.

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answers from Sacramento on

Let me put in my 2 cents as being a stepmom and going through this.
When my 2 sk would be with us, their bio mom would call everyday to talk to them. However, there were times that they didn't want to talk to her. Not because they didn't love her or that we didn't want them talking to her, but because they were having fun. Everytime they did talk to her, their demeanor and attitude completely changed. Like she would say something to make them feel guilty for having fun while at their dads. I am not saying this to sound bitter I have never had a problem with her calling when they are with us. I only have a problem with her trying to control what happens at our house. I only have a problem with her making them feel bad for having fun. We would always offer them to call her back.
Now when the kids were with her, and we would call to say good night, she would be conveniently gone or not answer the phone. We also would get an email saying that she would prefer us not to call when they are with her. My take is that if you are going to call when they are with him. Then you need to allow him to do the same. As far as going away and not tell you when they are to return or where they will be to me is unacceptable. As their parent, you have a right to know where they are at all times. But understand... what you expect of him, he is entitled to expect from you. As far as the stepmom, she does have a say in the kids well being. You need to accept that he would never let anything happen to them so trust his judgement (unless he has proven otherwise). She may not have any legal righs, but in her house, she has many rights. I am sure like most wives (and my self) we take care of the shopping, paying the bills, making plans for travel or activites, and especially when they get sick.. she will take care of them.. the kids were sick one time and I asked their mom what kind of medicine they were taking so I didn't mix medicine... she looked at me then looked at my husband.. and said "they are med" really?? not cool.. Just looking out for the kids..

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answers from Honolulu on

Well, the scheme of things seems to be changing.

Ask your Attorney.
Or get one.

Is he out of State????
Allowed to????
What are the rules about the kids' custody?

DOCUMENT, everything. Times/dates/what was said etc.

This may be just the beginning... of him starting to get real nasty about it.
Who knows.
He is now, keeping you from them and from access to them, when they are with him.
Controlling, to say the least.

You need a GOOD Attorney.

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answers from Redding on

I wouldn't go pinning this on the step mom, for heaven's sake.
I just say that because when I married my husband, his parents brought his sons because they were in the wedding party. They were 13 and 15 years old. Their mother called about every 20 minutes and I am not exaggerating.
We had a house full of people, fittings for the boys tuxes, rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, the wedding the reception, and we didn't take a honeymoon because my husband wanted some time with the kids at our new house that was a long distance away.
Their mother hit the roof when my husband told her that the kids would call her when we got back home or the rehearsal was over, whatever. She was NOT going to stand for being kept from her children!
I stayed out of it completely because I had too much other stuff going on.

I don't think it's right to say he doesn't want you to have ANY contact with your kids. Surely there is a compromise where he could have them call you before bed in the evening a few times in 10 days. I don't know how old your kids are. Would talking to you get them upset to the point where they're crying and freaking out about going home? That could put a real downer on a wedding.
It's tough to be away from your kids. I know I never liked it.
I don't text so I don't know anything about it, but maybe you could send a text and just ask him nicely, when he gets a chance knowing how busy he is, to please let the kids call you for a're sure they're fine, but you'd just like to say hi.

Please don't go assuming this is all the step mom and start blaming her. You didn't send HER the picture. SHE didn't tell you to buzz off. She might not even know you sent it.
Just saying.

My ex husband and I made a plan to try to have the kids available on certain evenings at certain times. Traveling, you never know what might come up so we'd let the kids talk at a different time. These are things to hash out BEFORE the kids go so it doesn't become a battle during vacation or wherever it is they went.
Your kids will be home soon. They will have missed you.
Deal with their father over it once they get back.

Best wishes.

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answers from Redding on

10 days is awhile, but they're dad is getting married and it's a "special" occasion. Maybe one that shouldnt be interrupted by mom calling her ex's cell phone. Surely if the kids want/need/ask to call you he will let them. When they get home after their vacation they will let you know if they are upset. Be mature. They are probably having a fun time with their dad. Don't make them feel guilty for it.
EDITED after your response:
Since it is out of character for Dad to make a response like that maybe it was his g/f that sent it, so I do see how you could be steamed. I guess you'll know when they return, I'm sure you'll find out why it's happened.

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answers from Providence on

If it's not on paper, it's legal. Although, I remember when I would go with my dad places, I rarely called my mom. She knew it was our time with our father, and didn't want to intrude. Especially if it was a vacation type of thing, she didn't know our plans or when would be a good time to call. If their was something she needed to discuss or let my father know,etc.. then of course, he would be fine with that. I think the picture could have waited though. He might have been annoyed, or maybe they were in the middle of something. You never know. Your oldest is 12, so it might be a good idea next time to let her have a phone. That way if you want to get a hold of your kids, you don't have to go through the husband. It's hard on the kids during this time. Especially now that your husband is remarrying. It's best not to stir the pot, unless you have to.

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answers from Savannah on

10 days is a really long time to not speak at all to your children. What I would have said would be something along the lines of "Ok, I know you don't want me calling a million times a day, so why don't you have them call me once a day? Or I will call them once a day, you tell me when it works best for you". I went on a special vacation with my husband and it was AWESOME to have some alone time, kinda like a second honeymoon, but I still snuck a call in to say hi to my boys (then 3yrs and 6 months) once a day, sometime after breakfast. Perhaps as older children, say about 10ish, I would be ok with going about 5 days but that would probably be my limit with NO contact at all. Things changed with the ease of staying in contact these days. I'd expect a 10 year old to be able to text or send a quick call out. Just don't be calling more than once a day. I would be angry if someone said I "can't" call my kids, even if I wasn't going to anyway. Because they're my kids too, and we have a close bond.
And in response to inmy30salready: I never answer or side blindly with someone just because they're a mom, and what MAN do you know that is busy 24 hours a day for 10 days getting ready for a wedding? Seriously? Mine was a great sport and more active than most, but he didn't do much lol. I don't buy that at all. Your answer may have been a little more harsh than necessary.

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answers from Milwaukee on

It's very legal. My friend just now got it put in court papers that she gets to talk to her son one time at a certain date and time during his week long stay w/ his dad. For years she has had no contact during his away time and the father has refused to even speak to her at all. It's sad, but true.

Maybe he doesn't want you to call because this is their bonding time? Is this unusual for him? You didn't mention if you normally call when they are with him. Are you calling at bad times that interrupt their wedding stuff? Perhaps he knows if you call and talk to them they will get upset and it's easier if they just don't talk at all. You didn't mention their ages.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I'm so sorry this is happening to you. I don't have the answer to your question, but my BIL is going through the same exact thing in reverse. He calls his girls every night and they're always "too busy" to talk to him. When he has the girls, she calls constantly. It IS manipulative. As for legal, I don't know. = /

Can you get them their own phones? It is not unreasonable for you to want (need) to be in contact w/your children. If this continues, I'd at the very least ask a lawyer.

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answers from San Francisco on

I think you should ask him how HE would feel is HE had to go 10 days without speaking to his kids......

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answers from Phoenix on

mom22girlygirls is right. this happened with my husbands ex on our wedding weekend. however, we KNEW she would be a psycho so we emailed her before, asked her to respect our time and we would have her daughter call her ONCE so she could talk to her but would not be calling any more than that. Your kids do not need to speak to you daily or even weekly to know that you still love them. Don't make them feel like they need that. Stop playing games and stop the drama.

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answers from St. Louis on

Is it against the law, no, is it against the decree, yes. Here is the problem, you would have to hire a lawyer to do anything about it. My ex does the same thing. Actually he does everything he can that will not compel me to retain my attorney. He is a dick! Your ex sounds like a dick.

My ex doesn't even have a home phone. Grounded the heck out of our little one cause she snuck his cell phone to call me and lost it. Yeah the dip keeps it on silent.



answers from San Francisco on

I think that it is a great idea to give the kids a mom phone (a cell phone they can use while with dad to call mom). You should also get this changed in your court documents or if you two can agree that the kids call daily or every two days to the other parent. Unless it is from the court there is nothing you can do about it. The new wife should stay out of it (assuming she is saying something). Luckily your children are old enough to call you on thier own. You could also ask him if he can have the kids call you when the time is convenient for them.



answers from San Francisco on

Sorry that you have this to deal with now and hopefully it won't last. Whether legal or not, it's pretty chicken s*** of your ex. I'd feel differently if you were calling all the time- throughout the day, during the middle of the night, etc. I agree that they're part of this special time, etc., the wedding is coming up, etc., but the world doesn't stop revolving b/c of that. You're still their mother and there's nothing wrong with a mother checking in to say "Hi" and "I love you" to her children- even every day. They're 10 and 12- pre-teens, i.e. still kids. It doesn't sound like you have a history of tying to sabotage the new realtionship your ex has and since your ex usually isn't this way, I too would assume it's the doing of the fiance...Plus I wouldn't want my kids feeling like I don't even bother to call them/show any interest in them just b/c they're not with me. If your kids come back and show you that's how they felt as a result of not getting calls/text msgs, etc from you, you'll be in the akward position of telling them the truth- or some sugar coated version of "your dad wouldn't let me talk to you" or making something up. Legal or not, it's pretty indecent. You don't sound like the one who's "stirring up the pot." It sounds like someone's insecurity (i.e. the new step mom's) is being taken out on your kids. I bet she doesn't have her own children.



answers from San Francisco on

I really think its a matter of them wanting time to build relationships with the kids now that theyre getting married. Allow them to have their time. Sorry but sending a pic to ex of u to show your kids is inappropiate. You have to look at it from the other side. What if u were the one about to get married and your ex sends u a pic of himself and says its for the kids? I don't think your soon to be would appreciate it at all! I can definitely understand you wanting to talk to them but just wait til this flies over and hopefully things will get back to normal. If not then go back to court to get the terms of contact w/ your children established so there's no question in any ones mind what's allowed. Please don't let your kids be affected by this or bring negativity into their heads about their dad & wife. Remember kids are most important. I hope that you get through this situation that can make everyone comfortable.



answers from San Francisco on

yikes, i would take care of this problem now so it doesn't get worse with stepmom... if it's even her influence. maybe dad is just crazy.


answers from Las Vegas on

Look at the custody papers, although I doubt anything is in there. I would never think to put that in there. I'd ask a lawyer even if you have to go to a random custody lawyer and get a free consultation or something. I don't know if it is illegal but it is rude as hell and manipulative. He is either trying to scare you or piss you off. What's your personality type? Like if my ex even did this (I don't think he would dare lol) it would be to scare me. I'm the person that if I can't get ahold of my child I'm wondering what is going on, is someone hurting her, etc. If that happened to me the cops would get a call to check on the kids because ex idiot is keeping them from me.

Call the cop dispatch in his county and tell them your ex husband refuses to let you talk to your own children and you would like them to go make sure they are okay and let you talk to them, ask what they can do. Any reasonable cop would go and lecture him for it, even if it's not illegal.

In the future, you should buy them a cell phone and tell him that if he takes it away from them or makes them turn it off for any reason you will call the cops for destruction of your property.
I would pull out the custody papers and go back to court about those phone calls. Until that happens, I'd give him a taste of his own medicine. But like I said I'd have the cops make sure they are okay, but that is speaking from my personality type that I would freak out if someone refused to let me speak to my own child. I couldn't go 10 days without speaking to my child.

Is he trying to spend time with them before the wedding? Are they really busy or is he always a jerk trying to piss you off? It is hard to give accurate advice without knowing his history with the kids.


answers from St. Louis on

Talk to your lawyer, thats not right.



answers from San Francisco on

I think you're right - it does have to do with the new stepmom. I do, however, have to say that I don't think sending photos while they're with dad is the thing to do. I understand if you want to talk to them at night to say goodnight or just check in or in the morning, but I don't think you should be sending pictures for them to look at during dad's time. You can show them the pics when they get home. As far as it being legal, I imagine it is. If you really feel strongly about talking to them while they're with dad, you will need to go to court to get a court order saying he has to let you talk to them. Otherwise, you can try to work it out with him. there is no way to force it without a court order.

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