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What are the Pros & Cons of Virtual Visitation?

Children webcam communicationVirtual visitation is becomingly increasingly popular in custody cases where one parent has relocated out of state or when there is long geographical distance between one parent and his or her children. The concept behind this form of parenting is the use of advanced technology, such as web cameras and Skype, to keep an active and daily role in the lives of their children. While Colorado does not yet have formal legislation about this method of handling custody situations, it is nonetheless recognized by many judges and courts in the state. Many divorced parents can’t help but wonder if using web cameras and Skype is actually a good thing for their parenting.

There are some obvious benefits. Many parents simply can’t afford to travel long distances to spend the desired amount of time with their children. Visits are often confined to just a few times a year and for extremely limited time periods based on school or work schedules. Virtual visitation allows for more regular face to face contact that can provide a parent with a more visible role in the lives of their children.

Some experts do raise concerns about virtual visitation. Even though technology allows for face to face interaction and even fun activities like game playing, some experts are concerned that online activity cannot replace the benefits of face to face activities. In fact, there is a concern that one parent may try to substitute virtual visitation for physical interaction and may deny the parenting rights of the long distance parent. This concern is backed up by the lack of legislation in Colorado mandating the use of this practice in custody disputes.

The first studies by experts have led many to believe that the benefits of this form of long distance parenting will outweigh the negatives and provide a better experience for both parent and child. However, this decision can be highly personal. Often the best course of action involves discussion with your family law attorney to see if virtual visitation can be a good option for your divorce.

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