Is GPS tracking on a child’s phone permitted for co-parents?

One of the most stressful elements of co-parenting is that each parent – essentially – has zero (immediate) control over what happens during their ex’s parenting time. As such, people often worry about their co-parents taking their children to inappropriate places, exposing them to unstable people or otherwise putting them in dangerous situations.

Most people understand that tracking a spouse or an ex with GPS apps or devices could lead to criminal allegations. Connecticut can prosecute people under privacy and online harassment laws for GPS tracking people without their consent. People can potentially track a spouse with their consent, but doing so secretly could lead to criminal charges or stalking allegations.

Some parents may want to find a way around state rules by tracking their children instead. At first glance, it may seem perfectly reasonable to use GPS tracking software on a child’s mobile device to know where they are and roughly who they are with during a co-parent’s parenting time. However, doing so in Connecticut could be a major mistake.

The courts may punish parents for tracking children

As mentioned above, tracking another adult may violate state statutes. People could be at risk of stalking accusations if they attempt to monitor their co-parent without their consent. Tracking a child may seem like a reasonable alternative, but doing so could lead to allegations from the other parent.

Unless a parenting plan specifically allows an adult to use tracking devices or apps to monitor their children’s whereabouts, the other parent could raise questions about tracking attempts during their parenting time. Essentially, parents may not intentionally use location apps or GPS devices to track their children while they are with the other parent without express consent.

Doing so could theoretically lead to more family law conflict, as the other parent might decide to take legal action over that invasion of their privacy. As difficult as it may be, the best approach to co-parenting usually entails trusting the other adults to act in the children’s best interests during their parenting time. If they fail to do so, parents can document the issues that arise and potentially seek a modification of their custody arrangements.

It is quite easy for a well-intentioned parent to unintentionally violate Connecticut’s law and parenting standards in a shared custody scenario. Talking about co-parenting concerns with a skilled legal team can help people identify actions that could negatively affect their parental rights.