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What is virtual visitation?

With today's technology, it is easier than ever before to connect with family and friends across the globe. Aside from email correspondence and constant contact via social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, new technology such as Google Hangouts and Skype have allowed families and friends to talk to each other via webcam video conferences.

How can virtual visitation be used for active military members on assignment away from home or abroad? With video conferencing and ability to record and view videos through a smartphone or tablet, it is now possible for a parent who is away from his or her child to help with a child's homework, follow social events such as music recitals and live sporting events or even read a bedtime story to a child.

Though this helps active military parents who are away from their children due to its ease of use, it should not be used in place of in-person visits, which has been scientifically proven to be important in the relation between children and their parents. In-person visitations should always be planned when a situation presents itself for military members currently away from their children; however, virtual visitations are a resourceful means to maintain some form of a child custody agreement.

The virtual presence of a parent to a child is something that should be embraced and considered on a legal level, but not something that should be used in place of physical visitations. But for parents involved in a military divorce with children away from a military member on active duty, virtual visitations are a viable alternative that should be considered. Those dealing with this or other child custody issues in a military divorce should understand the options available. Parents have rights, and he or she should take the necessary steps to protect them as well as the best interests of their children.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Virtual Visitation," Accessed July 20, 2015.

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