Some divorced parents in Tennessee may need to make an agreement with the other parent about a virtual visitation schedule. Virtual visitation refers to a parent’s contact with a child via phone, email, instant messaging, Skype or any other technological means. Virtual visitation is most often used when one parent lives far away from the child.
Virtual visitation is regarded as similar enough to in-person visitation that a parent who will not be granted regular visitation rights is also unlikely to be allowed virtual visitation. However, it is supposed to act a supplement for contact between children and parents and not as a replacement.
In fact, one of the criticisms of virtual visitation is that its existence might mean that a judge is more likely to grant permission for a parental relocation. Some people raise concerns that despite intentions to the contrary, it is sometimes used to replace in-person visits. On the other hand, virtual visitation also offers a number of advantages and opportunities to build a strong relationship with a parent who is far away. With video conferencing, parents and children can see each other’s facial expressions or watch events in which the child is a participant. A parent can use virtual visitation to read a child a bedtime story or assist with homework.
For a family court, the focus of a custody agreement is always what is in the best interests of the child. This means that in some situations, a judge might make a decision about custody and visitation that is inconvenient for the parents. Parents might also be able to reach an agreement about custody and visitation that does not require them to go to court. One benefit of this is that they might be able to better develop a schedule that is to everyone’s satisfaction.