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The basics of virtual visitation

In California and other parts of the United States, virtual visitation has been gaining popularity as a way for divorced parents to supplement traditional visits with their children. Virtual visitation, also known as electronic visitation and Internet visitation, makes use of email, instant messaging, video mail, video conferencing and other forms of technology. Florida, Texas, North Carolina and Illinois are just a few of the several states that have enacted virtual visitation laws, and with the all of the benefits that come with this form of communication, it is likely that more states will follow suit.

Since laptops, smartphones, tablets and the Internet have become commonplace, virtual visitation provides a simple and convenient way for parents and children to participate more in each other's lives. Although some may consider telephones more convenient, with the use video technology, parents can witness important events as they are happening and also enjoy more face-to-face communication. Photo-sharing sites, text messaging and document-sharing websites also offer convenient ways for parents and children to make contact.

Virtual visitation laws may vary from state to state, but they generally include provisions that require parents to encourage and allow virtual visits, make them available within reason and permit uncensored communication. Whether or not virtual visitation is allowed by a court depends on the best interests of the child; if traditional visits are not permitted, it is unlikely that virtual visits will be allowed.

If a parent believes that virtual visitation is in the best interests of the child, a lawyer that practices family law may be able to provide assistance. Even though some states have not passed specific laws regarding virtual visitation, family courts may still recommend these types of visits as a way to expand upon visitation rights.

Source: FindLaw, "Virtual Visitation," Accessed Jan. 22, 2015

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