With recent advances in technology, it has become easier for parents and kids to stay connected when apart.
For many divorced families, using Skype or Facetime between scheduled placement visits is a part of their usual communication routine. With virtual visitation being so commonplace, it’s important to consider its impact on the parent-child relationship after divorce.
In Wisconsin, the law provides that the court can grant either parent “a reasonable amount of electronic communication at reasonable hours during the other parent’s periods of physical placement with the child.”
However, this electronic communication is not intended to supplement a parent’s physical placement. Electronic communication must also be in the child’s best interests and feasible for the parents.
In theory, being able to video conference with your child when you are apart can be a great way to connect and keep up with one another. In practicality, communicating via this medium may not always be convenient for your kids or the placement parent.
Additionally, when parents don’t get along, having to make the children available for scheduled video chats can easily become one more thing to fight about. There is also the matter of how much time a parent should be allowed with their child during the other parent’s placement period. If a parent is contacting the child too frequently, it could be disruptive.
Parents should also remember that talking on a device or computer is not a substitute for spending quality time with their kids.
Virtual visitation, like any part of a parenting plan, works best when parents are able to be flexible and cooperative with one another. This is also going to be a better tool for supporting the parent-child bond when parents can use it appropriately.