The current environment has changed the way society functions. To adapt to this new reality, modern technology – such as video chat and teleconferencing — is being utilized in new and innovative ways. The world of child custody is no different.
As it becomes more difficult to meet with their children in person, parents are adjusting. Virtual visitation sessions, in which the parent and child meet through an online platform, are catching on in some states. This type of visitation via electronic or internet technology is ideal for parents with busy schedules and those who live far from their children.
When and how virtual visitation works
Virtual sessions can be conducted over webcam, video chat, telephone, and other wired or wireless technologies. Popular services include Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, and WhatsApp. Florida has current legislation regulating when, and how, virtual visitation is to be used by the courts.
Florida courts may prescribe virtual visitation in only certain circumstances, and even then the parties must follow strict guidelines.
Firstly, virtual visitation most be in the child’s best interest as determined by the court. Additionally, the technology required must be affordable and available to all parties. If a parent has a history of child abuse or domestic violence, this is also considered.
Additionally, virtual sessions may not be a substitute for in-person visitation sessions. They may only serve as a supplement for face-to-face contact.
If the parents agree to a virtual session, each parent is required to provide the other with the necessary access information – such as login codes and usernames – to conduct electronic communication. If the access information changes, the other party must be notified within 7 days.
Virtual visitation is just one possible solution that may work for parents sharing custody and visitation rights. Working with an experienced family law attorney can help those with questions understand their options and seek a fair outcome in their situation.