Virtual visitation, or visits between a parent and their child using modern technology, is usually only considered when a parent and a child are separated by some distance and regular in-person visits are impractical – but there’s no reason it has to be that way.
Parents may be overlooking a great way to make it easier to stay connected and visibly present in their children’s lives by not including virtual visits in their parenting plans, even when they share possession of and access to the children fairly liberally.
Virtual visitation can be used to supplement, not just replace, in-person visits
Even though virtual visits are never quite the same as being there in person, contact through digital means can be used to make the post-divorce adjustment easier on both you and your children. For example:
- If you never let the kids leave for school in the morning without telling them you love them before the divorce, why stop? A text or an instant message sent when they’re in your co-parent’s care can allow you to continue your tradition.
- Do you miss reading a bedtime story to your youngest at night? You could still accomplish the same thing by reading to them over Skype or Zoom.
- Was listening to the latest details about your oldest’s friend-group drama right after school an important part of the day for you both? There’s no reason not to have your daily catch-up by phone.
There are all kinds of creative ways to use modern technology in modern parenting, but a lot of what can be done depends on how willing you and your co-parent are to work together. The more cooperative you are toward each other, the easier it will be to negotiate some ground rules.
Discuss with your co-parent what you’d like to accomplish, and then talk about things like:
- What devices will be used, and who will pay for them (and any associated costs)
- When it’s acceptable to initiate virtual contact (so that there are expected times)
- What courtesy notice each parent will give the other if the schedule needs to change
Protecting your legal rights as a parent is important, but so is protecting your relationship with your children. Strong parent-child bonds come from regular contact and parenting plans can be constructed to reflect that reality.