Virtual Visitation And Parenting From A Distance
The world is getting smaller every day as the tools for communication become faster, cheaper and more accessible. Florida was among the first states to introduce virtual or electronic visitation for prisoners, and now is among those states to address this method of communication with parents who live at a distance from their children.
What is electronic visitation?
Electronic or virtual visitation is the employment of Internet conferencing, texting, social media platforms or email as a means of communicating when physical contact is not an option. Virtual visitation is not intended to replace actual visits. The availability of these tools enables parents to have continuing and meaningful contact in between physical visits, particularly when one parent has relocated after divorce.
The advantages of e-visiting are clear. Such methods allow parents to:
- Maintain daily contact with children.
- Master technological tools that further expose them to their child’s world.
- Attend concerts, ceremonies and events by video conferencing.
- Send messages across time zones when it is convenient to do so.
If e-visitation is reserved for the enhancement of the parent-child relationship and not as a substitute for physical contact, it is hard to imagine what the disadvantages might be. One drawback the courts grapple with is the increased appeal of relocation, as it directly corresponds to the ease of virtual communication. Though it is absolutely clear that the availability of virtual visitation is not to be considered as a factor in a petition for relocation, there is no possible way to eliminate it as such.
Just as electronic visitation made its initial debut in Florida’s prison system and served a profound purpose in fostering a connection within a protected environment, virtual visitation can be used in lieu of supervised visitation between parents and children. The ability to speak and make visual contact without the additional level of physical contact can be beneficial when a parent-child relationship is dangerous, strained or in the process of being rebuilt.
If you believe virtual visitation might be right for you and your family’s parenting plan, speak to your family law attorney at Weiner & Weiss, LLC. Our Broward and Palm Beach County offices are conveniently located to serve your family’s legal needs.