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Do you need a temporary virtual visitation plan?

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2024 | Family Law

Whether upcoming summer plans are going to mean a change to your usual parenting schedule or you need to be away for a time for work or other obligations, staying in touch with your child is likely one of your primary concerns. It’s important not to leave things to chance.

For divorced long-distance parents, “virtual visitation” is typically part of their parenting plan. When the distance is a temporary situation, it still may be wise to codify a communication plan – especially if your co-parent is less than diligent about your current parenting schedule.

Virtual visitation generally relies on FaceTime or other video chat platforms. It may also include phone calls, texts and social media. You can have a “watch party” on Netflix or another site. There are a multitude of ways to stay in touch and activities to share online.

Whether you decide that you need to codify a long-distance communication plan or not, it’s still best to put something in writing so that you, your co-parent and your child can set expectations. This can provide your child with a sense of security – especially if they feel like their life is being disrupted by yet another change.

What goes into a communication plan?

A virtual visitation plan should include details like how often you and your child will communicate, by what method, at what time (taking into considerations everyone’s time zones) and how soon time will be made up if it’s missed. This can simply be a minimum of what’s expected. You can always have other communications with your child. If it’s a situation where your child is staying with your co-parent for a month during the summer or over a school break, you’ll want to be respectful of their time together and not be contacting them constantly.

If your child isn’t old enough to manage their end of these connections on their own, you may want to include details like whether your co-parent can be present. However, either way, it’s ultimately their responsibility to make sure these visits happen.

Every family’s long-distance communication plan is unique. If you believe that you need to make it a legally binding one, even if it’s temporary, it’s wise to seek professional guidance.