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Can virtual visitation help when custody time is limited?

When parents divorce or separate, it is the children who often suffer the most. Figuring out the best custody arrangement is not always easy, and sometimes life demands or the need to relocate make it difficult for one or both parents to get the time with their kids that they really want. Is there any way to improve custody time without changing the amount of physical time children get with each parent?

Yes. Virtual visitation is not new, but it is something that parents have not really considered including as part of their custody arrangements. What exactly is virtual custody, and how can it help when physical custody time has limits?

Virtual visitation is...

Virtual custody is keeping in contact with children by utilizing various forms of technology. Just about everyone has a cellphone, phone, computer, tablet, or at least access to one of these things. It is just the way the world works now. Examples of virtual visitation would include:

  • Video calling
  • Sending texts or emails
  • Using social media messenger apps

Technology has improved the way that family members stay in contact. If can certainly help children keep in contact with parents who may not be around as much as they would like.

Not a replacement

Virtual visitation is not a replacement for physical custody time. This type of visitation may be a good supplement to a custody plan. It is, by no means, meant to keep parents and kids from seeing each other in person.

Limitations and specifics

If a custody plan includes virtual visitation, it does not mean that parents have unlimited access to their children. In some cases, it may be necessary to set limits.

For example: A father of a 10-year-old boy receives virtual custody approval. He and his ex agree that phone calls would be best. So, they arrange a set day and time during the week for the father to call his son, and the specifics are included in the custody order. The custodial parent then has a responsibility for making sure that the child is available during that time every week. If the child is not going to be available, they will need to make alternate arrangements for that week.

Adding specific details about how virtual visitation will work will serve to keep each parent on the same page as to how it works.

Virtual visitation may not work for everyone, but it can certainly help children and parents in certain circumstances keep their relationships strong. Texas is one of just a few states that has virtual visitation laws, so those interested in including it in their custody plans can seek help in doing so. 

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