In the case of Koss v. Brown, the Virginia Court of Appeals, in an unpublished opinion, ruled that the trial court properly restricted father's telephone visitation with children. Pursuant to a previous court order, the father was permitted to call the children at a certain time on days that he did not have visitation with them. The order stated that the telephone calls would last no longer than fifteen minutes per child, or a total of thirty minutes if father spoke with the children at the same time. Father is a native of Germany and wants his children to learn the German language and learn about their heritage. During his telephone calls, he worked with the children on their German homework. In 2012 and 2013, the calls between father and the children became strained. At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court modified father’s telephone calls by changing the times for the calls and ordering that father shall not do German homework with the children during his telephone calls with them.
Father contends he should be allowed to do what he wants during his telephone calls with the children, including helping them with their German homework. The trial court acknowledged that father’s German heritage is important to him. However, the trial court found that doing the German homework over the telephone was “causing a great deal of difficulty and a great deal of trouble and . . . [was] poisoning all of the relationships here.” There was evidence of the children crying and of father yelling at them and calling them “stupid” and “liars.” Mother testified that the calls were disruptive to their household. The trial court held that it was not in the best interests of the children to do the German homework over the telephone because it was “causing a great deal of difficulty and stress.” The trial court concluded, “It would be much better for the children to know less German and have a more open relationship with their father and their father to have a better relationship with their mother than it is that they learn more German.” The record supports the trial court’s findings that it was in the children’s best interests not to do German homework on the telephone with their father. The trial court clarified that father could assist the children with their German homework when he visited with them, but not during phone calls. As the trial court explained to father, “it’s not really your time.” The children are “on their mother’s time” and father is “getting a phone call.”
-Rob Hagy, Charlottesville Divorce Lawyer. For help with issues like these and other custody and visitation issues, please call me at (434)293-4562 or email me at email@example.com. Also, visit us on facebook at: Charlottesville Divorce Lawyer.