While it is often considered to be in a child's best interest to maintain contact with both parents after a divorce, joint child custody or visitation can be a logistical and emotional nightmare. After couples split up, one or both parents may end up moving to a different city or state, making visitation much more difficult.
Thankfully, Florida is one of six states with specific laws allowing for "virtual visitation," sometimes called "electronic visitation." Through the use of webcams, email, social media and other communications technology, non-custodial parents can stay connected with their children even if distance gets in the way.
Virtual visitation rights differ in each case, but the decisions surrounding it are similar to in-person visitation rights. It is usually left up to family law judges to decide first if virtual visitation is warranted, then to assign the duration and frequency of each visit. In most cases, virtual visits are not meant to replace in-person ones, but merely to supplement them.
This is a tool that is being considered by family courts in a growing number of states, and statistics show there is a real need for virtual visitation laws. According to a recent news article, parental divorce or separation currently affects about 18 million children.
And because single parents are so likely to move within a few years after a split, an estimated 10 million kids do not get to see one of their parents in person on a regular basis.
It is nice to know that Florida has shown itself to be progressive in employing new technology to facilitate parent-child togetherness after divorce. Divorcing couples who believe that virtual visitation is the best option for their situation may wish to speak to a qualified family law attorney about how to request that these arrangements be made.
Source: Washington Times, "Virtual visitation: a sensible child custody option," Myra Fleischer, April 15, 2012
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