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Technology adds new dimension to child visitation

Technology is changing the way divorced parents communicate with their children. Florida is one of a handful of states that has embraced virtual visitation as a way for non-custodial parents to keep in touch with their offspring. Sometimes referred to as 'Internet visitation," technology used for this purpose is a growing trend, with courts in other states considering allowing it as part of a parenting plan.

Virtual visitation can include email, instant messaging, social media sites, video emails and video conferencing. Sometimes the non-custodial parent lives far away from their children, making it difficult to have regular in-person visits. Virtual visitation is not meant to replace in-person visitation, but rather to supplement contact between parents and children. In order for the process to work best, the custodial parent needs to make sure the child is available for virtual contact and not censor communications between the child and his or her non-custodial parent.

Uses of virtual visitation might include a parent reading a bedtime story to the child or helping with a homework assignment. The two can share photos and keep up-to-date on each other through social media sites. Combined with traditional visits, virtual visitation can be a win-win situation for everyone.

A divorce and its aftermath can be hard on children. Regular visitation with the non-custodial parent is in the best interests of the child. Virtual visitation is one way to maintain and strengthen the bond between the two. Sometimes, however, visitation issues can arise with even the best-intentioned parenting agreements. Non-custodial parents may need the assistance of a child visitation lawyer who may be able to get the parenting plan modified to include both traditional and virtual visits.

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