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Virtual visitation for parents

These days, parents have a few more options than previous generations when it comes to custody and visitation, including virtual visitation. Virtual visitation is still relatively new and is not prescribed in every instance, but many courts now recognize that the widespread use of smartphones and tablets allows parents and children to spend time together through videoconferencing technology.

Texas was an early adopter of this practice, and frequently includes virtual visitation in parenting plans. Under such a plan, a parent and child enjoy regularly scheduled sessions of videoconferencing with each other, and parents may also agree to videoconference for certain notable events in a child's upbringing, especially if the parent who does not enjoy primary custody is unable to attend them.

It is important to note that virtual visitation does not replace physical visitation, but merely supplements it. Parents should not expect a visitation and custody plan that only allows one parent virtual visitation when physical visitation rights or shared custody time is possible. Rather, courts prefer to use virtual visitation to improve communication between parents and children over the course of the child's upbringing. Likewise, if a parent does not qualify for physical visitation with a child, then he or she likely does not qualify for virtual visitation either.

If you believe that virtual visitation may play a positive role in your own custody dispute or have concerns about the ways that your child's other parent wishes to use virtual visitation, you should carefully consider the legal options you have available. Protecting your rights and the rights of your child is one of the most important responsibilities you have as a parent.

Source: FindLaw, "Virtual Visitation," accessed May 18, 2018

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