Making "virtual visitation" part of a child custody plan

Technology has changed at a rapid rate over the past 25 years. It used to be that writing a letter or making a phone call were the only ways to communicate with someone that you could not talk to face-to-face. Now, people in Orlando can communicate with loved ones in an instant, via email, text messaging, social media networks or even video chats. This use of technology has bled into many areas of our lives, including child custody.

"Virtual visitation," as it is known, is often made part of a child custody plan. It serves as a means for the child to communicate with a parent when it is not that particular parent's custody or visitation time. Virtual visitation is often made a part of a child custody order when one parent wants to move away with the child, meaning the current child custody and visitation schedule is no longer feasible and must be changed.

Florida is among a handful of other states that have statutes permitting judges to include virtual visitation in their child custody orders. That being said, virtual visitation is not supposed to be a replacement for face-to-face custody or visitation periods. Instead, is to act as a supplement to the child custody and visitation schedule. The point of virtual visitation is to make parents reasonably available to their child when it is not their parenting time. It also provides the child with a means of communicating with each parent in an uncensored manner.

Virtual visitation has the benefit of allowing each parent to play a more active role in the child's life. However, it should not be a replacement for traditional custody and visitation periods, especially in situations in which the custodial parent moves away with the child. And, in the end, any virtual visitation orders must be made with the best interests of the child in mind.

Source: FindLaw, "Virtual Visitation," accessed Feb. 18, 2018

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