We live in an increasingly mobile society, and it is common for one or both divorced or separated parents to move to a different locale for reasons such as a better job or an increased support network. What this means is that interacting with your children may no longer be done in person and face-to-face.
Virtual visitation can help noncustodial parents maintain a relationship with children. Various Internet options exist, such as:
- Skype video chat via computer
- FaceConnect chat on iPhone
- Google chat
- Instant messaging
An advantage to phone and computer chatting is that distant parents can set up a scheduled time to meet with children on a daily or weekly basis to catch up with their lives and to engage in interactions such as reading a story at bedtime or playing a game. Noncustodial parents can interact with children on a more spontaneous basis.
A number of states have virtual visitation laws or are considering bills on the issue. A pre-draft virtual visitation bill was recently created in Maryland.
An attorney can explain the intricacies of how virtual visitation may apply to your situation. For example, the amount of chatting can be limited so that it is not abused. Virtual visitation should not substitute for in-person meetings but should be considered a supplemental visitation that can cement relationships. In certain situations, virtual visitation may provide a safe means of interaction between parent and child in addition to supervised visitation.
A skilled attorney can examine your situation and advise you on whether virtual visitation is an option for you.