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What is virtual visitation and does it work?

Virtual visitation is becoming more and more popular across the country these days, even without parents seeking approval from the court. Virtual visitation is defined pretty much how you would expect; it involves contact between child and parent via email, video chat and instant messaging. Many states are allowing this newer form of visitation to be included in a child custody order or parenting agreement.

For the most part, a request for virtual visitation is usually made by the non-custodial parent when the custodial parent seeks to relocate with the child. Because of the relocation, the normal agreed upon visitation schedule will no longer be able to work for the non-custodial parent. Virtual visitation requests can also be made during cases involving unmarried fathers, non-divorce cases and in new child custody and visitation requests.

In the state of New York, there have yet to be any virtual visitation laws passed by the legislature. Even though there aren't any laws governing virtual visitation on the books in New York, many family courts are ruling in favor of using technology as a method to extend visitation rights of parents.

Virtual visitation is not meant to replace traditional visitation when it comes to child custody agreements. Instead, it is meant as a supplement to traditional visitation. When ruling in favor of virtual visitation, the family court will look for both parents to permit to virtual visitation, make the virtual visitations available within reason and allow communication with the child that is not censored.

When a family court is determining whether or not to allow virtual visitation, it will take into account the best interests of the child, just like a traditional child visitation agreement. The court will also not likely grant virtual visitation if traditional visitation would not have been granted.

Virtual visitation benefits include the following:

-- Discuss daily activities

-- See the smile of the child

-- Witness sporting events, concerts, plays and other events of the child

-- Helping with homework

Virtual visitation continues to expand. An attorney can help you to see if this is a child visitation option for your case.

Source: FindLaw, "Virtual Visitation," accessed March 24, 2017

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