Our world is becoming more and more globalized, making it easier to communicate, do business, and build relationships virtually. This is good news for parents who do not live in the same state or even the same country as their children.
In the past, this would have meant that a child could only get to know their parent through letters and the occasional expensive phone call. Now, virtual visitation is an option that allows children and distant parents to create or maintain a bond.
You might be wondering if virtual visitation is the right choice for you and your child’s relationship. Learn more about how it works, and for more personalized advice, call Coumanis & York at 251-990-3083.
Who Benefits from Virtual Visitation?
Virtual visitation is a useful parenting tool for a wide range of parents, including:
- Parents who were required to move for work or to be closer to other family members
- Parents who frequently work out of town
- Parents who have an irregular work schedule and are unable to stick to a standard visitation schedule
- Parents who are incarcerated and unable to see their children in person
Basically, anyone who is unable to see their child frequently in person can benefit from the flexibility of virtual visitation. Children also get a lot from this arrangement.
While it may not promote bonding quite as much as in-person visitation, it does give children the freedom to connect with a parent whom they may not otherwise get to see. Remember, that’s the point of visitation: to allow a child the chance to spend meaningful time with both parents. It is important for both the child and the parent.
How to Set Up a Virtual Visitation Schedule
Virtual visitation is basically set up the same as an in-person visitation schedule. While Alabama law does not require a judge to consider this option, it is often much more convenient for parents than in-person visitation. The parents can collaborate to decide on an ideal visitation schedule.
Since video calls are less demanding than in-person visits, parents may choose to schedule them more frequently than they would do in-person visitation. For example, a parent may request two half-hour phone calls per week, plus two to three nighttime calls. This allows the non-custodial parent to talk to the child in-depth and participate in important daily rituals like bedtime.
You may also want to consider a virtual visitation schedule for holidays, assuming that you are also unable to see your child on holidays. Otherwise, you can create a hybrid schedule that accommodates in-person holiday visits and virtual visits throughout the rest of the year.
In the visitation schedule, specify when and how the calls will take place. If both parents have Apple devices, FaceTime may be the app of choice. If not, the non-custodial parent may opt for Skype, Zoom, or an alternative. Decide who will make the call—the custodial or non-custodial parent—and what circumstances allow for a call to be rescheduled.
Considering Permanent Virtual Visitation vs. a Transition to In-Person Visitation
While some parents rely on virtual visitation for the majority of their parenting time throughout their child’s life, others only use it as a stopgap to carry them through until in-person visitation is available. If you want to resume regular visitation eventually, make sure your co-parent knows this. This ensures that they are protecting your relationship with the child, laying the groundwork for future in-person visitation, and managing the child’s expectations appropriately.
Regardless of whether this is a permanent or temporary solution for you, make the most of it. In addition to standard video calls, consider using game apps to play games with your child long-distance, texting each other throughout the week, or watching movies together while you’re on video calls. Be creative about how you bond with your child virtually.
Discuss Your Family Law Needs with Coumanis & York
Looking for more guidance regarding your family law needs? It’s time to talk to the team at Coumanis & York. We’re ready to meet with you, discuss your needs in greater detail, and come up with a plan. Call us at 251-990-3083 or send us a message online to get started.