When a child’s parents choose to separate but they both desire to remain in the child’s life, custody and parenting time (historically referred to as visitation) arrangements must be sorted out. No matter how co-parents divide their time, their child will almost always be in a position to be “missing” one parent or the other.
This reality has become a little easier for many kids to process in the Digital Age. Why? Their parents have incorporated so-called “virtual visitation” terms into their custody, parenting time or parenting plan arrangements.
What is virtual visitation?
Virtual visitation is the process of communicating and connecting with one’s kids via electronic means. Usually, virtual visitation involves phone calls, using apps or online video platforms like Zoom or Facetime, emailing and other resources designed to keep people connected electronically.
Virtual visitation helps kids to remain connected to whichever parent they aren’t residing with at any specific time. Co-parenting arrangements can be tough on kids and parents alike. Using virtual visitation as part of your approach can serve as one of many ways to make things easier for everyone.
What factors should be considered?
If you’re thinking about making virtual visitation part of your approach, consider your child’s age, attention span, disabilities, learning style and general needs when crafting virtual visitation terms. For example, calling to sing your child a bedtime song every night might be great if you have a toddler but daily email and a weekly Zoom call might make more sense if you have a tween.
If you and your child’s other parent are trying to determine the terms of a child custody order and/or a parenting plan, you’ll want to carefully consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of including virtual visitation provisions within your plan. While this kind of communication doesn’t serve every child’s best interests, many families find that regular virtual contact between members facilitates greater investment in each other’s lives.