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Stepmom wonders the best way for father to document inability to reach his kids by phone

Your Question:
Hi, I actually asked a question a few months ago, and appreciate your help. I have another quick question which is: My husband's ex still denies the kids calling/taking his phone calls even after a court order. He had an idea that we should call the police at the end of each week after the kids again have not called him. We are at our wits end and this is only one problem, but we would appreciate how we could approach this (documentation wise). Sometimes it seems the police don't want to get involved, so how should we phrase it if you think we should call them? Thank you so much for your time & help!!!

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My Answer:

Thanks for writing again.

I don't think you should call the police about blocked phone access.

Instead, I suggest you do the following: buy a micro-cassette recorder that is made specifically for phone recording. Some recording units have a IN/OUT phone jack that must be used with a corded phone handset... it won't work on a cordless phone. By using this type of recorder, you'll get excellent voice quality on the recordings. Make sure you get one that has a counter on it, so you can go back and index the tape content, if ever needed. Here's the one I use, available from Radio Shack for $80. It's easy to set up. You just plug one phone jack cord from the phone base into the recorder, and then the OUT phone cord from the recorder to the handset.

Whenever you try to call the mother, record it. Allow the recorder to record the dial tone, the numbers dialed, the ringing, and the answering machine.

Leave a message on the answering machine, and date/time stamp it with the message you leave, "Hi, I'm calling to speak to the kids. It's 12pm on July 5, 2005. Please have them give me a call back today."

I ended up buying a cheap corded phone off a wall jack I wasn't using, just specifically for use with this recorder... easy enough to leave the recorder connected, the tape exactly where it left off, and start recording on the next day for the next message left.

I tried to use such documentation to get contempt on my ex. In the end, the judge never got to hear my recordings. He simply said the language in the orders was too vague for contempt.

You could try for contempt, or you could use your recordings to go back to modify the orders, based upon the evidence that it's nearly impossible to reach your kids telephonically.

But... all you asked is how to document it, and I think that would be the best approach. If you want to show just how bad it really is, also try to reach the kids on the mother's cell phone (recording the voicemail left there too). That way, you stack up two messages per day on your recordings (in vain efforts to reach the kids), and you'll soon have 50 messages you left. Very hard for the mother to explain how she managed to be away from both her phones 50 times in a month.


This website gives common sense advice that is not intended to act as legal guidance nor psychological guidance. The author is neither an attorney nor licensed psychologist. For specific legal guidance or specific psychological guidance, consult with a licensed professional.

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