Pacheco Perez P.A.

Florida, handful of other states, have "electronic visitation" laws

An organization called the National Center for State Courts has issued a report concerning divorce and relocated parents. Central to its findings is that a quarter of all children in divorced families have one of their parents living at distance, that is, in another city or state. Approximately 10 million children lack regular and personal communication with one of their parents.

Enter technology to address that dilemma, especially concerning child custody and visitation matters. Parent-child communications via what family courts often call "virtual visitation" first came into play about 15 years ago, with the rise of things like email, webcams and Skype.

Texting, a plethora of other social media websites and additional technologies have now been added to the list, which makes visitation from afar actually seem much less remote than it is.

And far more common, as well, with millions of parents who are physically removed from their children relying increasingly upon virtual visitation to keep bonds tight and supplement face-to-face contacts that are part of physical visitation under a parenting plan.

Electronic visitation is far from being commonplace or a non-custodial parent's legal right in every state yet, but the trend is clearly growing. Utah wrote the first virtual visitation law, and Illinois is the most recent state to enact legislation providing for electronic visitation.

Four other states -- including Florida -- also have virtual visitation laws.

Source: Washington Times, "Virtual visitation: a sensible child custody option," Myra Fleischer, April 15, 2012

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