Parenting Schedules and Virtual Visitation

When interacting with a child or children becomes difficult for a parent because of distance, virtual visitation could help families stay connected. Here is some information those in Massachusetts might like to know about electronic visitation.

If a non-custodial parent is entitled to visitation rights, then virtual visitation rights might be an option too. These rights are not meant to replace real world interaction but can supplement parenting time when in-person meetings are not possible. Arrangements for virtual communication might be agreed on by parents as part of a parenting plan or ordered by a judge in a child custody order.

A parent may speak with a child on the phone when not having physical custody, and other resources for communication could include:

  • Webcams
  • Email
  • Instant messaging
  • Facebook and other social media sites
  • Photo-sharing sites

Virtual visitation may have applications when a parent lives far away from a child, or both parents might make use of technology to stay in touch when sharing custody and a child moves between two houses. The internet gives parents a chance to read stories or help with homework, and both a parent and child can show each other an event or object from daily life.

While Massachusetts does not have any virtual visitation laws in place, courts have approved this method of communication since as early as 2002 (Cleri v. Cleri, Massachusetts Probate & Family Court). When working out child custody matters and creating a schedule for parenting time, one may wish to seek advice from an experienced family law attorney. Virtual visitation is one tool that could be helpful for parents.

If you have a parenting schedule or visitation question, please contact our office to speak with a family law attorney to learn your options.