Technology now plays a role in practically everything Louisiana residents do. From their smartphones individuals can order groceries, buy clothing that will be delivered to their doors, catch up on the news, communicate with friends and family members, find dates, manage work commitments and a plethora of other activities. Electronic connectivity is making the world smaller and is now impacting the way that some families handle their custodial and visitation responsibilities.
While traditional methods of visitation between children and their noncustodial parents involved the kids and adults coming together for short periods of time based on schedules, virtual visitation expands visitation opportunities to anywhere the parties can connect electronically. For example, if a noncustodial parent and their kids lived far apart and could not regularly get together, virtual visitation may allow them to connect online and maintain the important relationships with each other that serve the children’s best interests.
Virtual visitation can take on the form of Skyping or FaceTiming, emailing or texting or any other means of electronically connecting a parent to their child. If it is ordered in a child custody decree then the adult parties must agree that the virtual visitation time of the noncustodial parent will be honored. Parents can run into problems with virtual visitation just as they can with traditional visitation if they fail to respond or connect with their kids through the appropriate electronic communications.
Virtual visitation has not taken the place of traditional visitation, nor will it as parents and kids reap the benefits of spending actual face-to-face time with each other. However, for families that are separated by distance or other barriers that limit their actual contact, virtual visitation provides a way of staying connected, maintaining relationships and building bonds between parents and their kids.