What is Electronic or Virtual Parenting Time?
During a custody dispute, parents will often wonder: Who will get the most time with my kids? Will I miss out on important parts of their life? How will custodial sharing change my relationship with my children? The idea of sharing parenting time, especially with a spouse who may be hostile, is difficult for many parents to contemplate.
If parents cannot agree on a visitation schedule, the court will step in and make arrangements for them. Unless parents split custody 50/50, one parent will be given most of the parental responsibilities and the other parent will get a set amount of parenting time or visitation.
One interesting change in the concept of parental visitation has been developing for some time – that of electronic or virtual parenting time. This idea got more exposure than ever during the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent shutdowns when households were isolated and parents couldn’t see their children in person for long stretches of time.
What is virtual parenting time?
Virtual parenting time has existed for some time, as videoconferencing technology developed and cell phones with cameras became popular. Parents who moved out of state for work or a new relationship were able to visit with their children by staying in contact via a video call, texting, phone calls, or even time spent video gaming live together. Apps like Facetime and Zoom have made it easy for parents and children to speak face to face, even when they can’t be together in person.
What is Illinois law on virtual parenting time?
In 2010, Illinois enacted an electronic visitation statute, expanding visitation to include electronic communication under times and conditions determined appropriate by the court. Although virtual visitation rights aren’t mandatory and courts can allocate them if and when it determines such visitation necessary, electronic parenting time can act as a great supplement to in-person family time.
How is virtual parenting time determined?
Sometimes, parents have concerns about minors using electronics. Questions about a child’s maturity in the use of electronics, the cost of electronic devices and the internet service they require, and restrictions from electronics as a method of discipline are all relevant.
Because of this, it is important for parents and courts to clearly outline rules and expectations for children in electronic parenting time. It is also important for parents to keep in mind that, although virtually visiting with children can enhance the parent-child relationship, virtual communication is not a substitute for in-person parenting time.
Contact a Kane County Lawyer
If you have questions about electronic parenting time, or are involved in a custody dispute, contact a Batavia, Illinois family lawyer with Larson Family Law. Learn more about our services and how we can help you by calling us at 630-879-9090 for a free and confidential consultation today.