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Integrating virtual visitation terms into a parenting plan

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2024 | Child Custody Plans

Virtual visitation terms are increasingly being integrated into the parenting plans of minor children whose parents are no longer together. Virtual visitation uses technology—such as video calls, instant messaging and email—to supplement in-person parenting time.

Integrating these terms into a parenting plan can help parents and kids to stay meaningfully connected across the miles. However, if they are not integrated in ways that are truly thoughtful, virtual visitation obligations could inspire more stress than anything else. If you are part of a co-parenting team, consider the following ways to tailor virtual visitation to your unique circumstances, in ways that are healthy and sustainable for all involved.

Establish a regular schedule

Consistency is key in any parenting plan, and this holds true for virtual interactions as well. Families should establish a regular schedule for virtual visits, much like they would for physical parenting time. This effort allows for a routine to develop, which can enhance kids’ emotional stability and allow for everyone to plan. The schedule should consider the child’s daily routines, such as school and extracurricular activities, and be accommodating to the time zones in which each parent resides if they live apart.

Clarify the purpose of this time

Virtual visitation can serve various purposes: helping with homework, reading bedtime stories, sharing holidays and special occasions, or simply engaging in everyday conversations. Clarifying what these sessions are intended to achieve can help make the time spent more meaningful and satisfying for both parent and child.

Incorporate flexibility

While consistency is important, so is flexibility. Life events such as vacations, illness or unexpected schedule changes can affect planned virtual visits. Parenting plans should include provisions for making up missed virtual visits or adjusting schedules as needed without causing stress or conflict.

By thoughtfully integrating virtual visitation into parenting plans, families can create a comprehensive approach that mitigates the logistical demands of shared parenting, and also enriches a child’s unique emotional and developmental needs.