Is Virtual Visitation Right for You?

Almost everything can be done virtually nowadays. That’s great news for divorced parents who do not live close to their children, as virtual visitation is now a widely accepted option. Perhaps you already live far from your child, or maybe you’re weighing your options before a move. There’s a lot to consider, and it’s crucial to take your time making such an important decision.

If you’re looking for an attorney who can approach your family law needs in an empathetic and solution-focused manner, let’s talk. Call Olmstead & Olmstead at 703-361-1555 to talk about your options.

What is Virtual Visitation?

Virtual visitation is essentially an alternative to in-person visitation. It is generally reserved for families for whom in-person visitation is not an option. This includes:

  • Families where the parents live in different states or countries
  • Families where one parent is in the military
  • Families where one parent is in jail
  • Families where one parent travels frequently for work and is generally unable to do in-person visitation

It is often scheduled the same way as in-person visitation and is written into the court order in the same manner. Calls may take place over Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, or other programs.

Benefits of Virtual Visitation

When you’re considering something like virtual visitation, you need to look at both the advantages and disadvantages. Some of the advantages include:

  • It really doesn’t get more convenient than virtual visitation. It doesn’t matter if there’s bad weather, someone’s car breaks down, or the visiting parent doesn’t have a safe place to stay. As long as they have an Internet connection, they can talk to their child.
  • For children or parents with demanding schedules, virtual visitation is an excellent option. For example, a child in multiple sports may have a schedule full of games and tournaments. Virtual visitation can be easily moved and rescheduled to allow them to connect with their parent.
  • Accessible in most places. Whether the parent is just living in another state, traveling for work, in the military, or in prison, virtual visits are available. There are very few places where the Internet is truly unavailable.
  • Suitable when in-person visitation is absolutely unavailable. There are some situations where standard visitation is genuinely not an option. When this happens, virtual visitation may be the only option.

Drawbacks of Virtual Visitation

Some of the downsides of virtual visitation include:

  • Lack of physical affection. If your child just needs a hug after a rough day or you want to cuddle, virtual visitation may feel like a pale imitation of the connection you and your child actually need.
  • Dependent on technology. Technology is wonderful, but it’s also not always reliable. If your usual video calling app crashes, the weather takes down either party’s Internet connection or a device breaks, you may experience a break in your usual visitation schedule. If you have a combative or alienating parent, they may use technology issues as an excuse to skip your visitation time.
  • Possibility of coparent listening in. With standard visitation, you are free of the other parent’s presence and influence. The same cannot be said for virtual visitation. Even if the other parent is not onscreen, there’s a chance that they are in the same room listening or listening outside the door. This can feel invasive and make it difficult to interact normally with your child.
  • Child may be disconnected. Children can do well with virtual visitation in some cases. However, other kids have trouble focusing on the screen or maintaining regular conversations with their parents. They may be distracted by in-person happenings. This can make it a disheartening experience for the parent.
  • Limited activities. There’s only so much you can do when you visit your child virtually. You may be able to have good conversations, play games online, or watch a movie together, but there are limited options beyond that.

Weigh Your Options—Call Olmstead & Olmstead to Get Started

There’s no cut-and-dry answer as to whether or not virtual visitation is right for you. By talking to your attorney, you can find out how you should move forward. The team at Olmstead & Olmstead is ready to help—just contact us online or call us at 703-361-1555 to get started.

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