A central part of every divorce involving children is the determination of child custody and visitation rights. In Virginia, a variety of possible physical custody arrangements exist. For example, one parent may have primary physical custody while the other parent has visitation rights, or custody may alternate between parents on a weekly or monthly basis. Regardless of where the child stays on any given night, there are many ways in which he or she can spend time with both parents. “Virtual visitation” is a way for parent and child to maintain a close relationship with possible daily interaction, although they are not physically in the same place. It may be particularly helpful in situations where the parent and child have reduced face-to-face visits because they no longer live in the same geographical area.
Virtual visitation is the use of technology as a means to keep the parent and the child in contact. While the telephone has long been a standard method of communication, technology now allows parents and children to also keep in touch via email, instant messaging, interactive games or social media websites like Facebook or Twitter. Video conferencing, such as Skype and FaceTime, can allow a parent to read a bedtime story or help with homework, and allow a child to show a drawing, a report card or a missing tooth. Virtual visitation can be a supplemental way for parent and child to maintain a strong bond, but it is not intended to replace in-person time between them.
Virginia is not one of the handful of states that have enacted virtual visitation laws. But, Virginia courts are often willing to order age-appropriate virtual visitation rights to supplement face-to-face visits. As with all child custody decisions, courts must make virtual visitation determinations based on the best interests of the child.
Divorce can potentially have long-lasting effects on the children who are involved. If you are interested in learning more about how virtual visitation may be of benefit to your parent-child bond, you can speak with one of the experienced custody lawyers at Livesay & Myers, P.C. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.