Virtual Visitation Becomes Increasingly Common in Florida

According to the National Center for State Courts, approximately 18 million children in the United States have parents who are separated or no longer married and the parents of another 17 million children never married one another. About 25 percent of those children have a parent who resides in another city. Additionally, three-fourths of single mothers relocate at least once within the first four years after a divorce or separation. Consequently, nearly 10 million American children do not have regular face-to-face contact with one of their parents.

New technology such as Skype, email, text messages, and social media like Facebook provide some parents who live far away from their children with an opportunity to stay more connected. Six states, including Florida, have enacted laws regarding virtual or electronic parenting. Under the laws, a family court may award a parent who no longer resides in the same city as his or her children with access through electronic communications as part of a comprehensive parenting plan. The court will determine the duration, frequency, and type of electronic communications a parent is entitled to. Additionally, a court may halt all electronic communications if the interactions prove to be abusive or otherwise harmful to a child’s emotional, physical, or mental well-being.

Virtual visitation advocates believe electronic communications helps maintain the relationship between divorced parents and their minor children. Although electronic communications cannot replace physical visitation, such communication reportedly acts as a supplement that allows the long distance parent to stay involved in the day-to-day aspects of their children’s lives. Critics believe some parents use the opportunity for court awarded virtual visitation as an excuse to move away. Others believe electronic communications are too often used to spy on a custodial parent.

Regardless of the reason for a parent’s relocation, virtual visitation has the opportunity to provide long distance parents with an opportunity to keep in constant contact with their children. The additional contact may provide psychological benefits to a child of divorce or separation and reduce stress for everyone involved. Still, family courts must always keep the best interests of the child at the forefront of any virtual visitation order. If you are a parent who would like to have increased contact with your children between physical visits, speak with a knowledgeable Florida family law attorney about your child custody options.

Many Florida parents struggle with the question of who will have physical custody of their children following a separation or divorce. In the State of Florida, divorcing parents of minor children must enter into a time-sharing agreement. A time-sharing agreement outlines exactly how much time a child will spend with each parent throughout the year. If a child’s parents cannot agree on a time-sharing schedule, a family court will order a schedule that takes into account the moral fitness of the parents, any evidence of abuse, and other statutory factors.

Contact experienced Miami-Dade family law lawyer Sandy T. Fox today if you are a divorcing parent in Florida. Because he focuses his practice exclusively on family law matters, Mr. Fox understands the uncertainty and range of emotions that can accompany a divorce or separation. He is available to explain the various statutory factors that can affect your rights as a parent and help you evaluate your visitation or custody options. Call Sandy T. Fox today at (800) 596-0579 or contact him through his website.

More Blog Posts:

Divorcing in Florida? Expect Delays in 2012, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, April 13, 2012
Miami Father Accused of Kidnapping, Hiding Daughter Released from Jail, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, April 6, 2012
Additional Resources:

Virtual visitation: a sensible child custody option, by Myra Fleischer, The Washington Times