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How does virtual visitation work in a custody agreement?

Divorce is often a difficult process. It can be further complicated when children are involved. This is especially true if the divorcing parents are disputing over what they each think is a fair and workable child custody agreement.

Missouri parents often think that they have to end up with a traditional arrangement when it comes to joint custody and a visitation agreement; however, more and more divorcing parents are favoring less traditional means to keep in touch their children.

What is virtual visitation and how does it fit in a custody agreement? Virtual visitation is considered a form of child visitation that is accomplished through the use of technology. Whether it is through email, video chats or instant messaging, this use of technology to supplement visitation could be included in a parenting agreement or child custody order.

Typically, parents will request virtual visitation if he or she is not the custodial parent. Additionally, this type of visitation is sought to be included in the agreement if a parent relocates or if a custodial parent moves with the child out of the area.

It should be noted that virtual visitation is used to supplement current visitation rights and are not used to replace the traditional in-person parent-child visits. In most cases, for virtual visitation to occur, both parents must permit and encourage these visits, they must make these visits reasonably available and they must allow uncensored communication with the child or children.

Including virtual visitations in a child custody agreement does not only allow more time with a child, but it also strengthens the child-parent relationship. A parent is able to read a child a bedtime story, help with homework, see their child smile, see certain milestones like a missing tooth, an award or other accomplishments, talk about your day and even see extra curricular activities.

Whether you seek to include virtual visitation in your child custody agreement or seek to modify a current visitation agreement, it is important to understand your rights. This will help you make a decision that protects your rights and is in the best interests of your child.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Virtual Visitation," accessed March 26, 2017

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