Given the recent advances in teleconferencing, it was only a matter of time before technology started to influence custody arrangements. Just like many of us now telecommute to work or spend family holidays together using teleconferencing software, in some states it is now legal to provide visitation through these mediums.
Usually, virtual visitation will not suffice in a joint custody situation. However, in a situation where one parent has custody and the other parent does not, virtual visitation might provide a welcome solution if the custodial parent wishes to move out of the state.
Is this legal in Minnesota?
There are no laws in existence in Minnesota as of yet. However, Wisconsin, Illinois, North Carolina, Utah, Texas and Florida have such laws on the books. Despite this, because this is such cutting-edge technology and law, even though Minnesota does not have these laws on the books, it is possible that virtual visitation may be a solution depending on your specific situation.
Does this replace in-parent time?
No. Virtual visitation is a supplement and not a replacement for spending time in person with your children. However, virtual visitation provides a number of benefits for parents who may live in different states. Teleconferencing software may allow you to, for example, read your child a bedtime story or help with homework or other projects.
The ability for the child to see the non-custodial parent’s face, even if the parent is far away gives virtual visitation a distinct advantage over talking on the telephone. However, nothing fully substitutes for in-person attention, and virtual visitation is not a proper replacement for this.