• Blog >
  • Virtual Visitation

Virtual Visitation

Study after study confirms that children whose parents are not together do much better emotionally when they spend time living with their parents. Researchers point out how difficult it is to keep up on engaged parenting if the parenting plan only allows a parent to visit with their child every other weekend. And while shared custody is becoming more and more common, the majority of custody cases still have the child living with a primary parent and schedule visitation or parenting time with the other parent.

While it is ideal for children to see their parents in person, there are a lot of changing circumstances to a child visitation schedule that can prohibit physical contact. The children may travel with one parent for an extended summer vacation, one spouse may relocate for a job, or a child’s day may be too busy with school and sports to travel between homes.

These days, many parents have had to also deal with the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had in many co-parenting situations and how the pandemic may be restricting a noncustodial parent’s ability to have parenting time with their child.

In these circumstances, it may be useful for parents to take advantage of electronic communications to connect with their children on a regular basis. The following is a brief overview of virtual visitation and how parents can incorporate it into their parenting schedules. For more detailed information about your particular situation, contact our law firm to speak with one of our family law attorneys.

Types of Electronic Communication

One of the most common devices used to communicate virtually is the cell phone. According to the wireless trade association CTIA, approximately 40 percent of children who are two years of age or younger have used a cell phone to access media. Even if a child is young, they can still engage with an absent parent via electronic devices with the help of an adult. Children can also connect with parents on tablets, computers, video gaming systems, and more.

Some of the forms of communication can include:

  • Facetime on the cell phone
  • Platforms such as Skype or Zoom, either through an app on the phone or on a computer
  • Sending text messages or messages via Facebook or Google Chat
  • Sharing information on social media sites or blogs
  • Participating in multi-player video games together

Schedule Virtual Child Visitation

In the best situation, parents determine how to schedule all of the logistics involved in virtual visitation. Some of these factors may include which is the best form of virtual visitation to use, what the schedule should be, and who will cover any costs that are involved. Unfortunately, not all parents will be able to come to this agreement and the court may order what type of electronic communications can be used and which parent is responsible for paying the costs of internet services or devices. Even if parents do agree on their own, it is always better to make it part of the written parenting plan the court issues.

Why Would I Be Denied Visitation?

Whether parenting time is in person or virtual, the court will still follow the best interest of the child doctrine. If the court determines that, somehow, you would be a poor influence on your child or harm their emotional or educational development, you could be denied virtual visitation rights. The same factors that could cause a judge to limit or deny a parent in-person visitation could also apply to virtual visitation.

Learn More by Contacting a Rhode Island Child Custody and Visitation Attorney

Virtual visitation should never be considered a substitute or replacement for personal interaction between a parent and their child. Virtual visitation should also never be used to justify relocating the child by the custodial parent. It should only be used as a way to enhance the quality and quantity of interactions the child is able to have with their noncustodial parent, allowing the child to benefit from the emotional support of both parents. It can allow a parent to help their child with homework, read a bedtime story, and enable the child to share how their day went  “face-to-face.”

If you are facing any custody issues, or any other type of family law issues, call Kirshenbaum Law Associates at 401-467-5300 for a confidential consultation with a skilled Rhode Island family attorney.