Virtual Visitation in Family Law

Courts are beginning to utilize new technology to experiment with the implementation of “virtual visitation” on divorced parents who do not live in the same state. A New York judge recently ruled that a mother who was moving out of state to Florida must make her two children available to talk to their father via Skype, an online video chatting service. Many other states have also begun to experiment with virtual visitation laws, with judges ordering non-custodial parents to keep in contact with their children through email, instant messaging, and web cameras.

According to the Nielsen Company, a media research firm, more people now use social networks rather than email to communicate with one another. The popularity of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are contributing toward allowing distant parents to stay connected to their children. Although the technological era is certainly proving to be beneficial for those who cannot see their children regularly, many are quick to point out that web chats are not equivalent to weekends spent with a parent. Furthermore, those in opposition to virtual visitation worry that the availability of video chatting will allow custodial parents to move greater distances freely.

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