In today’s interconnected world, we hardly go anywhere or do anything without the aid of an electronic device. Smartphones, tablets and computers are often a major part of how we interact with family and friends on a daily basis. Of course, with the challenges the past year has brought, we’ve come to rely on these items even more than in the past to help us connect with people we otherwise might not be able to.
One area where this technology can be put to good use is with spending time with one’s child as part of a custody agreement. Texas is one of a number of states that has codified electronic communication as a recognized way in which both a custodial and non-custodial parent may spend quality time with a child.
How virtual visitation can work
For some parents, having the option of gaining time with their child by using electronic communications can be incredibly important – and perhaps the only reasonable way to have more frequent time with a child. For example, if the non-custodial parent moves away, meeting via Skype or similar product could help the parent and child maintain a closer relationship when physical proximity just isn’t possible. Some parents will collectively agree to incorporate electronic communications into their custody arrangements, which may not be specifically reflected in a court order.
However, if the parents do not agree, one can ask the court to grant virtual visitation rights. The petition can request specific times for virtual visitation, much like any visit. However, it is important to note that virtual visitation is not meant as a substitute for in-person visitation, which is still strongly preferred for the wellbeing of the child.
There are many nuances and individual details that must be considered for any custody agreement. While the court will always look at what is in the best interests of the child, having the option for virtual visitation as a means to connect – particularly in today’s world – should provide some comfort to parents who want to remain a steadfast part of their child’s life.