“Virtual visitation,” as the term suggests, is a form of child visitation that necessitates the utilization of technology to stay in contact with a child. This kind of visitation could include e-mail, video conferencing, video mail, and IM’s, but usually is detailed as part of a parental agreement or child custody decree.
Virtual visitation requests are usually made by the non-custodial parent in cases in which the custodial parent wish to move out of the area or relocate with a child — therefore interfering with present parental visitation rights. Petitions for such arrangements may also apply to new child custody and requests for visitation, including child custody and visitation in non-divorce situations and requests for visitation by un-married fathers.
Keep reading to learn more about how the law can integrate options to in-person visitations.
Virtual Visitation Statutes
“Virtual visitation” or internet visitation” is still somewhat new but increasing in popularity as video calling becomes normal. Many states, including Florida, Wisconsin, Utah, Illinois, Texas, and North Carolina, have passed laws enabling courts to order online or electronic visitation in custody issues. Legislatures in a lot of other states are presently considering passing such laws.
Virtual visitation could also be an alternative in many states in which do not yet have specific laws on their books. In a lot of states like New York, that have not passed specific statutes, family courts have expressed support of using technology for extending parental visitation rights.
Virtual visitation laws are designed to supplement, not replace, conventional in-person parenting-time. These laws usually require each of the parents to:
- Allow and encourage virtual visits;
- Make them moderately available; and
- Permit uncensored communications with the child.
Even though the phone is still the fastest and easiest for communicating, the more technologically advanced ways to participate in virtual visits might include standard electronic communication devices (like e-mail and IM’s), webcams, video conferencing, privatized document sites, photo-sharing sites, and social media sites.
Likewise to other child visitation arrangements, courts are going to consider the child’s best interests determining whether to permit parent-child virtual visitation. Additionally, since it’s so similar to conventional visitation, a court most not likely will not furnish virtual visitation should conventional visitation would not have been granted.
Advantages and Disadvantages
There are both advantages and disadvantages to such arrangements. Because of the increasing number of divorced parents with shared-custody of their children, virtual visitation offer potentially comprehensive advantages to enrich the parent-child relationship. In addition to parents becoming more actively involved in their children’s lives, regardless of the distance, parents and their children may disputably become better people.
Some of the instances of how this could be used to benefit the parent-child relationship can comprise of:
- Reading a bedtime story to their child;
- Helping with homework or a school project;
- Seeing slight facial expressions of a parent or child, like a smile or frown;
- A child showing a parent lost teeth, an award, or other special achievement;
- Uniting on social media sites to talk about daily occurrences; and possibly,
- Witnessing concerts, dance recitals, and other events live as they are happening.
Nevertheless, whereas instant messaging and other types of electronic communication may be advantageous in cases in which the non-custodial parent is physically inaccessible, some believe that virtual visitations might be seen as a replacement, and not a supplement, for typical in-person child visits. Additionally, some are concerned that judges might be improperly influenced by parents want to move away from their ex in situations that would not otherwise justify child custody relocation.
Questions About Virtual Visitation? Consult with an Attorney
Technology is able to help close a lot of gaps, as well as those between a child and a non-custodial parent. Even though nothing is as ideal as seeing a child face to face, virtual visitation provides the next best thing and is acknowledged and put to use by a lot of states for both non-custodial parents and possibly grandparents. You can discover more about virtual visitation and other factors of child custody in your state by consulting with a child custody attorney near you.
Virtual visitation. Findlaw. (2018, October 25). Retrieved October 4, 2022, from https://www.findlaw.com/family/child-custody/virtual-visitation.html
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