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Virtual visitation: Helping parents parent from afar

Child custody cases are sometimes difficult to work through. This is especially true if the parents don't live near each other or if one parent travels a lot for work.

These cases have to put the best interests of the child first. This can be a challenge because the best thing is usually for a child to have a relationship with both parents. When distance is a factor, there is one option that parents might use to ensure that the child can have a relationship with the absent parent -- virtual visitation.

Virtual visitation isn't meant to be a replacement for physical visitation. It is meant to enable the parent and child to have a relationship from a distance until they can meet up for an in-person visit.

The method of virtual visitation depends on the situation. The parents might use video chats, emails and instant messaging to keep up with their child.

It is imperative that the parents consider the timing of these visits so that they are at a time that is appropriate for the child. This could mean that the parent who is having the virtual visit has to get up at inconvenient times, but seeing his or her child should be worth it.

If you are going to use virtual visits in your child custody order, make sure that you have the expectations laid out clearly. You should also remember that the visits must be the same as they would be in person, so the parent who is with the child can't censor the visits.

Source: FindLaw, "Virtual Visitation," accessed July 27, 2017

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