Any separation from your children after a divorce may be difficult on you and your children. You and your former spouse may have decided to co-parent, but that does not mean that you will get to see the children in person as often as you would like.
Fortunately, we live in a time when technology brings people closer together and makes the world seem smaller. Virtual visitation is becoming a real thing, and you may want to negotiate it into your parenting plan.
What is virtual visitation?
As the name implies, your visit with your children would be virtual. Webcams, Skype and FaceTime, among other technological forms of contact, can provide you with ways to see your children even when you can't be there in person. You could use instant messenger, email and texting to keep in touch as well. Virtual visitation should not take the place of in-person visitation, however. It should only supplement it.
Granted, many California parents already allow the other parent to talk to their children through technological means without requiring a court order to do so. However, including it in a visitation schedule could provide the parent who does not have the children with some peace of mind that the time will be there. A written schedule may also give both the parent and the children something to look forward to when they are apart.
Participating in your children's lives -- virtually
One of the primary benefits of virtual visitation is getting to be involved in your children's lives. Many of the rituals that you and your children took part in prior to the divorce may continue through this type of visitation. For instance, you could use technology to do the following:
- Help with homework
- See an award
- Read a bedtime story
- Play a game
- Attend events
Of course, your virtual time isn't limited to these activities. The important part is that you actually get to see your children in addition to talking to them.
Making virtual visitation part of your parenting plan
You and the other parent can put virtual visitation on the schedule right along with your in-person time. Of course, when the children are with you, the other parent should have the same option. The two of you can agree on when and for how long virtual visits can last. This gives each of you the peace of mind that virtual visits from the other parent will not overtake your in-person time with the children.
Something as simple as being able to say goodnight to your children and help tuck them in could let your children know that you are still there for them even when you aren't together.