Virtual Visitation

Virtual Visitation

“Virtual visitation,” as the term suggests, is a form of child visitation that necessitates the utilization of technology to stay in contact with a child. This kind of visitation could include e-mail, video conferencing, video mail, and IM’s, but usually is detailed as part of a parental agreement or child custody decree.

Virtual visitation requests are usually made by the non-custodial parent in cases in which the custodial parent wish to move out of the area or relocate with a child — therefore interfering with present parental visitation rights. Petitions for such arrangements may also apply to new child custody and requests for visitation, including child custody and visitation in non-divorce situations and requests for visitation by un-married fathers.

Keep reading to learn more about how the law can integrate options to in-person visitations.

Virtual Visitation Statutes

“Virtual visitation” or internet visitation” is still somewhat new but increasing in popularity as video calling becomes normal. Many states, including Florida, Wisconsin, Utah, Illinois, Texas, and North Carolina, have passed laws enabling courts to order online or electronic visitation in custody issues. Legislatures in a lot of other states are presently considering passing such laws.

Virtual visitation could also be an alternative in many states in which do not yet have specific laws on their books. In a lot of states like New York, that have not passed specific statutes, family courts have expressed support of using technology for extending parental visitation rights.

Virtual visitation laws are designed to supplement, not replace, conventional in-person parenting-time. These laws usually require each of the parents to:

  1. Allow and encourage virtual visits;
  2. Make them moderately available; and
  3. Permit uncensored communications with the child.

Even though the phone is still the fastest and easiest for communicating, the more technologically advanced ways to participate in virtual visits might include standard electronic communication devices (like e-mail and IM’s), webcams, video conferencing, privatized document sites, photo-sharing sites, and social media sites.

Likewise to other child visitation arrangements, courts are going to consider the child’s best interests determining whether to permit parent-child virtual visitation. Additionally, since it’s so similar to conventional visitation, a court most not likely will not furnish virtual visitation should conventional visitation would not have been granted.

Advantages and Disadvantages

There are pros and cons to such arrangements. With more divorced parents sharing custody, virtual visitation can enrich parent-child relationships. Despite distance, active involvement may lead to mutual improvement. Examples include:

  • Reading a bedtime story to their child;
  • Helping with homework or a school project;
  • Seeing slight facial expressions of a parent or child, like a smile or frown;
  • A child showing a parent lost teeth, an award, or other special achievement;
  • Uniting on social media sites to talk about daily occurrences; and possibly,
  • Witnessing concerts, dance recitals, and other events live as they are happening.

However, while instant messaging and electronic communication are helpful when physical presence is impossible, virtual visitations should complement, not replace, in-person visits. Concerns include potential misuse for parental relocation disputes.

Questions About Virtual Visitation? Consult with an Attorney

Technology aids connections, linking a child with a non-custodial parent. Virtual visits, accepted in many states, offer valuable interaction. Consult a child custody attorney for state-specific details.


  1. visitation. Findlaw. (2018, October 25). Retrieved October 4, 2022, from

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