For most parents, spending time with their children is extremely important. When parents are divorced or separated, however, it can be challenging to coordinate schedules and visits to ensure each parent has adequate parenting time. This is where technology and virtual visitation can be used to make things easier and keep everyone connected.
Virtual visitation includes a variety of technologies such as email, social media and video chats. For example, a parent may use an instant messaging program or webcam to connect with their child on a daily basis if they live in different households.
North Carolina is one of only six states that currently has laws covering "electronic" or "virtual" visitation rights. The rest of the country is not too far behind, with over twenty states currently in the process of passing similar legislation.
Generally, virtual visitation laws give courts the authority award electronic visitation as part of the parenting plan or visitation arrangement. A judge may also specify the frequency and duration of virtual visits.
As technology continues to advance it seems virtual visitation arrangements will only become more popular. According to the National Center for State Courts, almost 10 million kids do not have routine face-to-face contact with one of their parents. Although virtual visitation is not a replacement for in-person contact, it does provide a valuable supplement.
A North Carolina family law attorney can provide further guidance on how virtual visitation can be incorporated into your parenting plan.
Source: The Washington Times, "Virtual visitation: a sensible child custody option," Myra Fleischer, April 15, 2012.