Parents across the country, including here in Virginia, may find it challenging to see their children in these uncertain times. While virtual visitation is not necessarily a new concept, it may gain even more traction in today’s world. Parents who are currently negotiating their custody agreements and parenting plans may benefit from obtaining a better understanding of what it entails.
First, virtual visitation should not replace in-person visits. Instead, it should augment any parenting time arrangements the parents make. However, there may be times when this type of visitation could help keep everyone safe, especially the children or an adult with a compromised immune system. With all of the advancements in technology in recent years, most people have a cellphone, a computer or some other device that allows them to communicate verbally, and often, face-to-face.
Rules or procedures regarding virtual visitation should be implemented. Parents need to be respectful of the custodial parent’s time, but conversely, the children should be able to have virtual contact at reasonable times with the non-custodial parent. You will also need to consider whether or not there is any need to monitor the parent-child communications. Typically, no such need exists but your situation may have a unique aspect. As children are likely encountering virtual doctor appointments and virtual meetings with teachers, applying some of the same principles to virtual contact with the non-custodial parent may make sense.
Virtual visitation allows the absent parent the opportunity to be a part of the children’s lives, even if the contact is through technology. With the current uncertainties across the world and the fact that the use of virtual meetings is likely going to increase, Virginia parents may want to include provisions for virtual visitation in their parenting plans. This and other co-parenting considerations could enhance the lives of everyone in the family. However, it is important to make sure they are included in a comprehensive and legally compliant agreement in order to gain the approval of the court.