Virtual visitation may be an option for some parents in California after a divorce. It is particularly common if one parent has to relocate. Virtual visitation can allow children and parents to connect in a way they would not otherwise be able to.

However, virtual visitation is a supplement to regular visitation. It should not be used as a substitute. Using phone calls or video calls, social media, email, text messaging or any other form of communication involving technology, virtual visitation can allow a parent to see a child’s missing tooth or sporting event. With virtual visitation, a parent can help a child complete homework, read a bedtime story and talk about day-to-day life. While some critics raise the concern that virtual visitation could make a judge more likely to approve a parental relocation, it can be an important way to strengthen the bond between children and parents after divorce.

When virtual visitation is part of a custody and visitation plan, parents are required to allow and encourage their child’s participation. They are also supposed to let the child communicate uncensored with the other parent. A parent who is not permitted to see the child in person during visitation will usually not be granted virtual visitation rights either.

Coming to an agreement on child custody and visitation can be difficult for parents, but if they focus on the best interests of the child, they may be able to do so without going to court. There may be times when parents need to return to court to ask for a modification in custody and visitation that do not involve a parental relocation. For example, if children are young when the divorce occurs, their needs and schedules may change over the years, and this can necessitate a change in the custody schedule.