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Ohio custody orders may soon include 'virtual visitation'

As technology has become more advanced and widely available, family courts throughout the country are using those new advances to creatively solve child custody issues. One common example of this is virtual visitation, which has been added to the child custody laws in at least six states. Although it is not yet part of Ohio family law, it will likely not be long before Columbus family court judges are including virtual visitation into family court orders.

Virtual visitation is an easy way for divorced and separated parents to maintain contact with their children when they are not able to see them on a regular basis, such as when they live in a different state. In general, the term encompasses any virtual means of communication between a child and a parent, including email and texting, social networking websites such as Facebook and Google Plus, and video chatting on websites like Skype.

Virtual communication is not intended to take the place of physical visitation, but it allows noncustodial parents to participate in the smaller milestones of a child's life, such as losing a tooth or getting an A on a test.

Proponents of visual visitation say that the new technology gives parents and children an easy way to stay in touch and maintain their relationship despite the distance between them. Critics, however, say that it gives non-custodial parents an excuse to move away, despite the fact that relocating is not in the best interest of their child.

What do you think? Is virtual visitation a helpful tool, or does it simply make custody issues worse?

Source: The Washington Times, "Virtual visitation: a sensible child custody option," Myra Fleischer, April 15, 2012

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