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Virtual Visitation: What it means and why it matters to Texas families

Technology can significantly enhance the bond between parents and children for families where all of its members do not live under the same roof. Gone are the days when the only ways to get in touch with someone apart from you were by letter or telephone.

Instantaneous communication methods like text messaging, video conference, and e-mail are widespread and available to almost every person in Texas. Improvements in technology and their mass appeal have led to opportunities to build relationships that were never before possible.

Suppose you are a parent who, for whatever reason, is not able to exercise visitation with your children by the standard means of physically being with your child. In that case, virtual visitation offers families the "next best thing" in terms of togetherness. What does virtual visitation mean, and how can it play a role in your life? Today's blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, seeks to explain this topic further.

Introduction to Virtual Visitation

Texas is among several states that have worked virtual visitation into state laws concerning custody and visitation. Any technology that puts you in the same room as your child when you can't physically be there counts as virtual visitation.

Skype, webcams, cell phones with video capabilities, and similar technologies all count as platforms for virtual visitation. Suppose the goal of a set visitation schedule is to encourage a long-lasting relationship between a child and their parent. In that case, virtual visitation can be a crucial tool to utilize when "normal" visitation is not possible.

An easy example is to consider the parent who is away from home due to serving in the military. These are parents who deserve an opportunity to raise their child, and with the help of technologies that allow for virtual visitation, they can do precisely that.

Where the law on virtual visitation stands in Texas

As I touched on earlier, Texas law does reflect the possibilities for virtual visitation. It's not as if many other states don't allow for it. It's just that our State Legislators went the extra step and created statutes that reflect the reality of virtual visitation and made it possible for a judge to work this visitation method into child custody orders.

We see virtual visitation implemented daily by family law courts when periods of electronic communication are either agreed to or ordered by a judge to appear in a child custody or divorce order. These periods of electronic communication would be called in addition to the in-person visitation part of child custody orders.

The key for each court is to decide whether or not a virtual visitation schedule is appropriate for a particular family. The number one factor that a judge must consider is whether or not doing so would be in the best interests of the child in question.

If you've read any blogs on the website of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, then you knew this one was coming. Number two, the judge must look to each parent and determine whether or not they have the ability and money to get the technology necessary to have virtual visitation sessions. Even though many of us can take these sorts of technologies for granted, they are not as readily available as we may think.

As a result, it is a genuine concern to judges that if they award virtual visitation rights to one parent, the same right should be extended to the other parent.

Pros and cons of virtual visitation

Like anything else in life, virtual visitation offers its own set of advantages and disadvantages that judges and parties to family law cases need to consider seriously. We've already touched on the most significant advantage of virtual visitation, in my opinion, that of allowing parents who cannot be physically present with their child the opportunity to continue building a solid parent-child relationship.

This means doing things like attending sporting events of their children virtually, taking part in holidays and birthdays effectively, and assisting with school work and other educational matters. Simply being present in some manner in a natural way can make a tremendous difference in the life of your child life.

A drawback of virtual visitation is that, no matter how advanced technology becomes or how regular the visitation is possible, it cannot replace the traditional visitation where parent and child are physically together in the same space. As a parent, you know something special about holding your young child and rocking them to sleep.

Likewise, for older children sharing in their successes at school or on the playing field can be a one-of-a-kind experience. I have spoken to parents who had concerns over whether or not virtual visitation would become the new normal and eventually become an option for courts to order.

A big thing to consider is that courts will typically order virtual visitation periods in addition to the traditional in-person visits that we have all become accustomed to.

Virtual visitation is a great alternative to in-person visits for parents who cannot take advantage of physical visitation for one reason or another. At the same time, the possibilities are virtually endless as far as schedules and options; having the support and knowledge of an experienced family law attorney at your disposal can help a tremendous amount.

Questions about virtual visitation? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC

To learn more about virtual visitation or any other subject related to family law, please contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. One of our licensed family law attorneys is available six days a week to discuss your case and answer any questions that you may have.

Our consultations are free of charge and can assist you a great deal in deciding when and how to move forward. One of our licensed family law attorneys is standing by to take your call and discuss your situation. A free-of-charge consultation where your questions can be answered is only a phone call away.

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Other Articles you may be interested in:

  1. Texas Divorce and Virtual Parenting or Electronic Access to Children
  2. Skype with your children when in-person visitation is not possible
  3. Supervised Visitation in a Texas Divorce: Can it happen to me?
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring Divorce Lawyer

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's essential to speak with ar Spring, TX Divorce Lawyer right away to protect your rights.

A divorce lawyer in Spring, TX, is skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.

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