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How virtual visitation is used in child custody modification

Divorced Connecticut parents may have seen the topic of virtual visitation come up during discussions about child custody modification. The concept of virtual visitation may be new to some parents who may have questions about what it means and its implications for their relationships with their children.

Virtual visitation often comes up when one parent, usually a child's custodial parent, wants to move away from the area where they, their children and their children's non-custodial parent live. Custodial parents must usually request a child custody modification order from a judge before they can make a long-distance move. During discussions about modifications, virtual visitation may be advanced as an option for non-custodial parents to maintain their relationships with their children.

Parents exercising virtual visitation with their children may use video chat programs, email, social media or other telecommunication methods to contact their children between visits. When used as a supplement to traditional visitation, virtual visitation may help maintain the bond between parents and children by allowing parents to engage in some traditional activities with their children even when they live far apart. Video chat allows parents and children to see each other's faces. Webcams and some computer, tablet or mobile phone applications can facilitate a range of parent-child interactions, from helping with homework to reading bedtime stories.

While virtual visitation can assist in some traditional parenting techniques over long distances, it cannot replace face-to-face time between parents and their children. However, some parents may feel that their ex-spouses' attorneys are using the possibility of virtual visitation as a way to convince judges to allow child custody modifications in cases where modifications would normally be disallowed. Family law attorneys may be able to defend their clients' parental rights by disputing modification orders that would allow their ex-spouses to move out-of-state with their children.

Source: FindLaw, "Virtual Visitation," Accessed on Jan. 21, 2015

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