Virtual visitation laws changing visitation, child custody


With the advances in technology come changes in the way we interact across all platforms and industries. The realm of child custody is not unaffected by these changes, as seen by the change is legislation surrounding virtual visitation. Traditional visitation included time spent with the child. Virtual visitation, on the other hand, regulates and mandates 'virtual' interaction between parent and child for instance via webcam or cell phone.

Florida is one of a few states to have enacted legislation that allows family law courts to order virtual visitation in custody matters. Since webcams and technology allow people to see each other and communicate, it is a fast growing sector of law in for families dealing with child custody decisions. Virtual visitation is different from regular visitation in a few ways, but by no means is it intending to replace traditional child visitation.

Instead, virtual visitation laws are meant to supplement, not replace, traditional in-person parent-time. These laws usually require custodial parents to permit and encourage virtual visits, make them reasonably available and allow uncensored communication with the child, when the court requires. Popular platforms used by parents with virtual visitation rights include video chat platforms like FaceTime and Skype. Also, email and picture sharing platforms have been used to better connect and communicate.

There are many ways a parent and child can benefit from virtual visitation. Although you are not in physical proximity to your child, one can read them a bedtime story, help with homework or just connect and talk about their day. These moments are meaningful in a child's development and helps to strengthen the bond between parent and child. Virtual visitation will continue to evolve and become more popular for parents who have been granted traditional visitation rights.

Source: family.findlaw.com, "Virtual Visitation," Accessed March 20, 2017

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