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Parents can now use virtual visitation as a part of the custody agreement to keep in touch with their child. Virtual visitation includes using phones, laptops, tablets, or desktop computers for communication between parent and child through emails, video mail, texting, video conferencing or any other type of video chat applications. The terms need to be detailed in the child custody order so that both parents and child understand and agree to the terms.
The noncustodial parent is usually the one who requests the ability to use virtual visitation either because they are traveling out of town or perhaps they want to relocate to another state. Fathers that are not married to the child’s mother may also request to use virtual visitation as a way to maintain a relationship with their child.
Laws Concerning Virtual Visitation
Many states already have laws in place letting the court order electronic or online visitation regarding custody matters. Other states are in the process of following suit.
Virtual visitation is not meant to replace one-on-one time spent together with parent/child. It is an additional way to spend more time with each other when the face-to-face time is not possible. The laws specify the parent:
- Encourage and allow virtual visitation
- Accommodate the virtual visits
- Allow the parent/child virtual visits to be uncensored and private if requested
If the court deems that these visits are in the best interests of the child, they will likely agree to allow virtual visitation as a part of the child custody agreement. However, if regular visitation was not a part of the custody agreement, virtual visitation will not be granted either.
Benefits of Virtual Visitation
Because of the advancements in technology that allow virtual visitation to be so easily and efficiently accomplished, children of divorced parents are able to spend more time with the noncustodial parent and can, therefore, become more involved in the day to day activities of their child. Virtual visitation can be used to:
- Work with the child on homework or projects
- Read their child a bedtime story
- Because the parent and child can see each other, they can better understand their emotions
- The child can show their parent school papers or awards, lost teeth, etc.
- The child and parent can share events and/or pictures on social media
- The parent can be virtually present during music recitals, sporting events, plays, etc.
- Texting can keep parent/child current with daily events and activities
Negatives to Virtual Visitation
There are some who believe because virtual visitation is so easy and convenient, it may serve to replace in-person visitation or even encourage the noncustodial spouse to move out of the area when normally, without the virtual visitation, they would choose to stay where they could have personal visits with their child.
Contact an Attorney
A family lawyer in Midtown, New York with experience in child custody law can explain the laws concerning virtual visitation in your state. In addition to the noncustodial parent benefitting from being able to keep in touch virtually with their child, grandparents and extended family may be able to participate in virtual visitation as well.
Thanks to Okun, Oddo & Babat, P.C. for their insight into family law and virtual visitation.