Since the 1990s when the first electronic visitation cases began to appear, virtual visitation between children and their parents has continued to grow. In 2010, Illinois became the most recent state to legally recognize virtual visitation. Currently six other states have laws governing “electronic” or “virtual” child visitation, and 22 more have efforts underway to develop similar legislation.
Virtual visitation includes anything from instant messaging to social media to video chatting. Technology has made it easier for parents who live far from their children to stay connected and involved with their kids’ daily lives. For instance, a child may show off a lost tooth over Skype, or a parent may play a game with a child through Facebook.
According to the National Center for State Courts, an estimated 35 million children have parents who are divorced, separated or never married, and 25 percent of these kids have a parent who lives in a different city. Almost 10 million kids don’t have routine in-person contact with one of their two parents.
Courts may discuss virtual visitation as part of a comprehensive parenting plan, specifying the frequency and durations of such interactions. Virtual visitation is not a replacement for in-person visits, but used to supplement it when regular face-to-face contact is not possible.
If you are a parent facing challenges around the issues of custody and parenting time, you may want to consider virtual visitation. An experienced family law attorney can provide guidance about the different options available to allow you to meet your parenting goals.
Source: The Washington Times, Virtual visitation: a sensible child custody option, Myra Fleischer, 15 April 2012