Video chat is changing the landscape of child custody

With the advent of the Internet and webcams, great distances no longer present such a difficult barrier to overcome when trying to communicate with friends and loved ones. Aside from making communication for everyone from telecommuters to deployed military members, the ability to video chat from a wide variety of devices is also making some big changes in family law. For Colorado parents who do not reside in the same state as their child, it is possible that their child custody agreement could reflect the ability to talk face-to-face even when separated by hundreds of miles.

Visitation no longer necessarily applies to physical time spent together between a parent and his or her child. Now, virtual visitation is becoming more commonplace for parents and children who are separated by great distances. This normally occurs when either a noncustodial parent moves elsewhere, or a parent who has primary custody of a child must move out of the area.

Although the notion of virtual visitations is still relatively new, working these types of visitations into a custody agreement can help promote a closer relationship between a noncustodial parent and child. Cited benefits include the ability to notice facial clues and expressions that are not otherwise available through phone calls or even helping out with schoolwork via video chat. Some experts in the field of family law have advised that, while virtual visitation might indeed be helpful, it should not be used as a replacement for already established custody and visitation agreements and laws.

It can be exceedingly difficult to be separated from loved ones by long distances, but the evolution of technology has allowed the world to become more connected than ever before. When taking virtual visitation into consideration for a child custody agreement, parents should still be sure to do so with the child's best interests at the forefront of discussion. This means that while video chats might be used to help keep in touch with a child or parent who has moved to another state outside of Colorado, other in-person visitations should still continue, and communication over the Internet should not be used as a replacement for actual, physical contact.

Source: FindLaw, "Virtual Visitation", Accessed on Aug. 3, 2015

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