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Child Custody & Parenting Plans

Does Virtual Visitation Have a Place in Your Custody Agreement?

Spending time with your children after your divorce is important, both for them and for you. Life does not always fall into neat, tidy lines though, and you may end up living a significant distance from your child for any number of reasons. However, this does not mean that you will end up with a child custody agreement that ignores your presence.

Virtual visitation is a newer approach to handling visitation in the digital age. It is popular among California parents who no longer live near their children and cannot see them on a regular basis.

How does virtual visitation work?

Virtual visitation uses available technology, including video calls, phone calls, text messaging, emailing and more, in place of physical contact. Examples could include a scheduled video chat each week, or regular access to a smartphone so that a child can regularly text his or her other parent.

This type of visitation is usually built right into the custody agreement. Including this type of information helps ensure that the custodial parent provides the child with regular access to the necessary technology.

Should I ask for virtual visitation?

As a noncustodial parent, your time with your child is already at a premium. As such, learning that your ex is relocating to a new area is worrying. Virtual visitation may be a good option to continue interacting with your child.  

By using technology, you can continue to be an active participant in your child's life. Although it may seem difficult at first, there are few limits to what you can do. Examples include:

  • Reading a bedtime story over video chat
  • Watching a live stream of a dance recital or other event
  • Engaging in daily chats via social media or text messaging
  • Giving homework help over the phone

You may also be able to carry out other acts depend on your situation and your child's needs.

Getting visitation right

Most children do best when they have regular and open access to both of their parents. When it is necessary for either parent to move, the child's relationship with their other parent may be severely compromised.

Using modern technology, California parents can continue engaging in their child's life regardless of the distance between them. However, it is important to include virtual visitation in the child custody agreement, which may require petitioning a judge for a modification of an existing order.