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How are virtual visits useful in child custody?

Child custody plans come with a parenting time schedule that enables each parent to have time with their children. While the schedule might work most of the time, there are instances in which the parent who should have the children might not be able to have them at that scheduled interval.

This can occur if the parent is on deployment for the military or if the parent or child is ill with a contagious illness. When this occurs, it's easy to become upset about missing the interaction, but there is an option that many parents find useful for these situations – virtual visits.

What is a virtual visit?

A virtual visit occurs via electronic means. This can include video chats, instant messages and similar methods. While they aren't necessarily a good replacement for in-person visits, they can bridge the gap until the parent and children can see each other again.

There are many ways that parents can use virtual visits to stay in touch with the children. Not only can they discuss how the child is doing, they can also make these times special. Helping a child with homework, reading them a bedtime story or having the child share something they're proud of are some ideas for parents. It might also be possible to watch a movie together or to see something like a dance recital or sporting event video during the virtual visit.

What rules should apply?

The virtual visit should be handled in the same way as an in-person visit. The parent and children should have uncensored access to each other. The visits should happen at a time that's convenient for both sides. If there is a time zone difference, deference should be toward the child's schedule even if that means a bit of inconvenience for the parent.

Ideally, the terms for virtual visits will be discussed in the parenting plan. This provides both parents with a guide to refer to if there are questions that arise. As you formulate the parenting plan, set it for the child's current needs as the plan can be modified in the future, accordingly.

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