Virtual visitation may help non-custodial parents spend more time with their kids. It’s a new solution to an old problem. Previously, a spouse who didn’t have primary custody of the children would have to live close to them or risk losing time with them. Living close by sometimes meant quitting a job to relocate. Another choice were long travel days to meet them, often requiring time off from work. Another poor option was a few phone calls now and then scattered throughout the year.
Modern technology, however, has made the situation better. Virtual visitation, also known as computer visitation, Internet visitation, or virtual parenting-time, is an increasingly popular choice when there is significant travel time between a child and a non-custodial parent. This kind of visiting permits parents to engage with their child virtually, helping keep a strong and nourishing relationship after divorce.
Today, more states let the non-custodial parent connect with their children by using a web camera and software programs like Skype. This allows parents and children to meet face to face, almost as if they were together in person. In some states, virtual visitation can mean using other technologies like instant messaging, emails, interactive online games, and texting on social media sites.
Many benefits accrue with virtual visitation. Travel time and transportation costs are eliminated. There’s no need to take time off from work. No need to take a child out of school to visit in person. On-line visits permit an efficient method for non-custodial parents to engage in a more visible way in their children’s’ lives. When both parents are aware of how helpful this type of visitation arrangement can be, virtual visitation can be very effective. Grandparents and other family members may also use this kind of visitation to spend more time with the ones they love.
The first state in America to pass legislation permitting virtual visitation was Utah in 2004. Wisconsin followed with its own bill in 2006. Since the passing of Utah’s House Bill 82, more than 15 other states have enacted a bill featuring this high tech parenting.
While the state of Colorado does not yet have formal legislation on virtual visitation, this method of handling custody situations is typically granted in cases where a judge believes that it is in the child’s best interests. In some instances, the judge may even set a specific schedule of online sessions to be followed.
Virtual visitation is, of course, by no means a replacement for personal interaction and is not a suitable option for every single custody arrangement. Its availability should also not be used as a justification for a custodial parent to relocate. When determining the best course of action to take for your family, it would be best to consult with a qualified Colorado family law attorney to see if virtual visitation is a good option for your divorce.