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Can visitation via electronic means be included in custody plan?

Trying to figure out how post-divorce life will work in the midst of divorce proceedings is not an easy task. When children are involved, it can be particularly hard to create a custody plan that works best for everyone, without knowing exactly how things will change down the line. Life gets hectic, circumstances change and shuffling kids around may not always work as planned. While it can be tough to account for every issue that may come up regarding child custody, including the use of electronic devices as part of a custody agreement may help Massachusetts parents keep in contact with their children if other arrangements fall through, or if increased visitation time is desired.

Virtual visitation is not necessarily new, but it is something that more states are trying to include as part of custody agreements. Currently, Massachusetts does not have specific laws regarding this type of visitation, although computer visitation has been granted before. Family circumstances and parental relationships with children will all be taken into account when determining if virtual visitation is a good idea.

Between social media sites, video calling, emailing and texting, there are so many ways for non-custodial parents to keep in contact with their kids. While virtual visitation is not meant to take the place of actually spending personal time with children, when circumstances do not allow for in-person visitation, these other options may prove to be invaluable tools in keeping the relationship between child and parent strong. There are proponents in favor and against this type of visitation, though, and every family situation is different. Parents will have to decide if including virtual access to children will be a benefit or hindrance to their specific circumstances.

No matter how a divorce is handled, it creates a difficult situation for the whole family. It is possible to devise a child custody arrangement that serves the best interests of everyone involved — which may include virtual visitation. If virtual visitation is desired, Massachusetts parents may be able to include specific guidelines in a child custody plan as to when and how electronic communication can be used in order to supplement visitation time.

Source: FindLaw, “Virtual Visitation“, Accessed on March 16, 2015

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