As technology evolves, virtual visitation is becoming an option for non-custodial parents to stay in their child's life. Virtual visitation may take the form of email, sending instant messages or using a webcam to communicate. The right to have virtual visitation is generally negotiated as part of a parenting plan or granted by a judge.
Although virtual visitation is a relatively new idea, many states have laws that allow courts to approve such visitation. It may also be an option in states such as New York where family courts have allowed electronic visitation in addition to existing visitation rights. Generally, both parents must allow these visits to happen, and it is meant to supplement as opposed to replace other forms of traditional visitation. During each visit, the parent and child must be allowed to have uncensored contact with each other.
There are several benefits to allowing parents to have virtual contact with their children. It may allow them to read a bedtime story when not in the house or make conversations more fulfilling because the parent can see facial expressions while the child listens or responds. Parents may also be able to watch a piano recital, soccer game or other events their children participate in live through a webcam or some other sort of electronic connection.
Those who wish to maintain contact with their children may want to meet with a child visitation lawyer to see what kind of arrangement might be permissible. Ultimately, the type of contact allowed will be what the court believes to be is in the best interests of the child.