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Technology meets family law in child custody cases

Technological advancements bring people here in Illinois and across the country closer than ever before. Now, these technologies may play a part in family law issues involving children. The growing concept of "virtual visitation" could become part of child custody orders.

Illinois parents have the ability to keep in contact with their children through emails, texts and even video calls. They could use instant messaging and share details of their daily lives through social media. These technologies provide important contact between noncustodial parents and their children, especially if more in-person contact is not possible due to distance or other considerations.

Even if the state does not yet have virtual visitation laws, parents can still request this type of visitation. It should be noted that this type of visitation should not replace in-person visits, but augment them instead. The custodial parent is typically required to make the children available for this type of contact without any interference. Of course, parents can still call their children, but technology could allow the parent and the children to actually see each other, which provides more personal, and often more enjoyable, contact.

Noncustodial parents who wish to have virtual visitation with their children incorporated into their child custody orders may benefit from discussing the request with a family law attorney. Whether the child custody issues occur in a divorce or between unwed parents, each parent has a right to time with the children under normal circumstances. If that time needs to be through the use of technology, so be it.

Source: FindLaw, "Virtual Visitation", Accessed on July 2, 2017

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