Should virtual visitation be a part of your parenting time plan?

It used to be the case that video teleconferencing was merely science fiction, or at the very least a very expensive option requiring specialized cameras, hardware and software. But today, plugging a webcam into your home computer, or simply using the built in capabilities of many laptop computers and smart phones, video teleconferencing is relatively cheap and easy. This democratization of technology means that parents and children who live far apart, can stay in touch through what is commonly referred to as virtual visitation.

To foster a healthy relationship with a child after divorce, having actual meaningful time with your child as part of you your parenting time plan is vital. But sometimes it is not practical that the visitation can be as frequent as anyone would like because of geographic considerations. In those cases virtual visitation may be an option to augment the physical parenting time of the non custodial parent.

One nice aspect about virtual visitation is that it is often an opportunity for the child to take the lead and exert some control. As child custody decisions and parenting time negotiations proceed during the divorce process children are generally not actively involved and can experience a sense that there are important decisions being made about them which are beyond their control. Virtual visitation may allow the child more discretion about how often they interact with the non-custodial parent.

Not to mention that it will likely be the child that serves as the technical guru to facilitate these virtual visits.

Source: The Washington Times, "Virtual visitation: a sensible child custody option," Myra Fleisher, April 15, 2012

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