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What is virtual visitation?

As some New Jersey parents may know, virtual visitation is becoming popular as a way to allow divorced parents to interact with their children in an entirely new way. Virtual visitation, like any other type of visitation, may be included in the parenting plan with the court's approval.

Virtual visitation takes advantage of the many ways to communicate over the Internet. Using a webcam, email or text messaging may be part of a virtual visitation plan. Other venues such as social media or methods such as Skype may also be utilized. Virtual visitation might enable parents to share a bigger part of their children's lives, including working together on a homework project, seeing a child play a new trumpet solo, watching sports events together or simply saying goodnight.

While virtual visitation is an exciting method, it is not meant to replace in-person visits. Rather, it might be used as a complement to regular visitation. Virtual visitation may also be used when parents live a long distance from one another.

Some states have built virtual visitation into the choices a judge may entertain when dealing with parenting time. However, even in the absence of such legislation it is still possible for the court to allow virtual visitation as a way of ensuring that parents and children are able to maintain a strong relationship. If such options are allowed, it is usually the case that the parent enables the child's use of these methods as well as providing available time. Virtual visitation may play a part in the time parents spend with their children. Incorporating this into a parenting plan may become more common in the future, and an attorney can also assist a parent in petitioning the court for virtual visitation.

Source: Findlaw, "Virtual Visitation,"accessed on Jan. 20, 2015

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