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Should you include virtual visitation in a parenting plan?

If you are like other Federal Way parents going through a divorce, custody issues regarding your children are at the forefront of your mind. You probably want to take steps to reduce their stress and anxiety regarding the upcoming changes in their lives and want them to have as much access to each parent as possible.

You may focus your energy and negotiations on developing a co-parenting schedule that best fits your family's needs, which is undoubtedly an integral part of your parenting plan. However, what can you do about those times when you are not with your children? Should you not have any contact with them during these times? Of course not, and you may want to account for this in your parenting plan.

Including virtual visitation in your parenting plan

Especially right now, staying in contact with loved ones requires using available technology. This serves as a good reminder to parents like you who are either already in the process of a divorce or considering one to include this in their parenting plans. Even though only a handful of states have laws in place regarding this type of visitation, it does not preclude you from taking advantage of this option.

You miss your children when you aren't with them, and they miss you. If you have the ability to communicate with them virtually on a daily basis when they are with the other parent, it helps keep your relationships with each of them strong, and the same goes for the other parent. Even one such call a day just to check in with the children, help with homework or read a bedtime story could make a difference in their lives and yours.

What options can you include in your parenting plan?

As is the case with any provision of your parenting plan, specificity goes a long way to avoiding unnecessary conflicts. When you negotiate your virtual visitation options, consider including detailed ways to conduct this type of contact, such as the following:

  • By email or text, which usually works best with older children
  • By online video chat, such as through Skype, FaceTime, Facebook video and more
  • By live chat through instant messaging services, which is less intrusive and can be done throughout the day
  • By phone
  • By social media, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, among others

You could include all of the above or just one or two options depending on your family's situation. The point is to choose a method that allows you or the other parent uninterrupted time with the children during in-person visitation while allowing children to have contact with the other parent as well.

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