One of the fears that haunt many children whose parents are going through a divorce is being cut off from the noncustodial parent. While mom and dad may be thrilled with being out of each other’s lives, in many cases, children will prefer having access to both parents all the time. Virtual visitation is a growing phenomenon nationwide, including in Arizona, that forms part of child custody orders and visitation plans of many couples.
With the ease of access to technology such as webcams, video phones and computer software such as Skype, children can have access to absent parents when they feel the need or at scheduled times. This may be additional contact in between scheduled visits or a solution for circumstances in which one parent has moved to a different state, and physical visits are infrequent. Virtual visitation can play an important role in maintaining a parent-child relationship between noncustodial parents and their children.
Virtual communication offers the participants the opportunity to see subtle facial expressions in each other, such as a frown or a smile, making the contact much more personal. A distant parent can even read a bedtime story to a toddler and watch him or her fall asleep. A child can show off awards or achievements, and even that first missing tooth can be shared. There is no doubt that virtual visitation can be of great benefit to both a child and a parent; however, it must never be seen as a substitute for physical visitation.
This is a fairly new method of visitation in child custody cases, and it has not been accepted formally by all states. However, Arizona parents who want to utilize virtual visitation as an added opportunity to maintain a presence in their children’s lives may benefit from discussing the possibility with an experienced child custody attorney. A lawyer will be fully informed about the latest family laws of the state, and he or she will assist in asking the court to approve virtual visitation as part of a child custody order.
Source: FindLaw, “Virtual Visitation“, Accessed on July 29, 2015