Virtual visitation: The basics

Co-parenting in the modern age is an endeavor that is often supported by electronic means of communication. Video chats, phone calls, texts, emails and even audio recordings increasingly help to keep parents connected with their children when those children are residing with another parent.

When a schedule and/or specific means of communication (that aren’t face-to-face in nature) are formalized as part of a family’s parenting plan, such approaches are usually referred to as virtual visitation.

The term “visitation” should not put co-parents off of the idea of incorporating such terms into their parenting plans. Even though the term visitation has largely fallen out of fashion in favor of “parenting time” – as the idea of being reduced to a visitor in a child’s life is usually both insulting and inaccurate – this term is used in this context because of its alliterative qualities, not as a commentary on the parenting status of those who take advantage of such arrangements.

Making virtual visitation work for your family

When formulating a virtual visitation approach, you’ll want to keep your child’s communication style and unique needs in mind. You’ll also want to make sure that you and your co-parent are able to meet your obligations consistently so that your child can rely on these kinds of communication. For example, if you can make it work, your young child might appreciate being read a bedtime story over the phone or via audio recording each night by whichever parent is not physically present.

If the idea of including virtual visitation terms in your family’s parenting plan interests you, don’t hesitate to seek legal guidance in order to learn more. Depending on your circumstances, you could potentially include such terms in a new agreement or modify an existing order to reflect this need.

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