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Is Virtual Child Visitation an Option After My Illinois Divorce?

Posted on in Child Custody

Wheaton family law attorneyUnder Illinois divorce law, visitation is now referred to as “parenting time.” Virtual visitation is a non-custodial parent’s right to interact with his or her child using a form of electronic technology. Also known as “e-visitation,” this form of communication typically means using a webcam or real-time video such as “FaceTime” for visitation. This is especially useful if a parent and child live in separate states.

Virtual visitation can also encompass the use of additional electronic devices, such as a computer or tablet for e-mailing, sending text or instant messages, etc. This is starting to be regarded as an appropriate form of visitation. It is important to note that it is designed to supplement instead of replace physical custody of the child. 

Advantages to Virtual Parenting Time

In Illinois divorces, parental responsibility is now allocated between each parent, and a reasonable parenting time schedule is determined by the court. The ultimate goal is to allow both parents to be involved in their child’s life as much as possible. 

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, electronic communication involves the time a parent and his or her child spend interacting via the use of tools such as the Internet, e-mail, and computers or tablets. Under the Act, any contact between a parent and child electronically is dependant on the following rules:

  • The availability or non-availability of electronic communication cannot be a factor when a judge determines if a child may be relocated out of state by the custodial parent; and
  • The court will determine in which situations e-visitation is appropriate.

Therefore, a court has the authority over when to grant virtual visitation rights. This type of visitation will not be awarded if it is decided that it is not in the best interest of the child. In addition, virtual visitation is not allowed if there is any history of abuse by the non-custodial parent or if there are concerns about the child’s privacy.

How Can I Obtain Virtual Visitation?

The first step in obtaining the right to virtual visitation is asking a judge if virtual visitation is available. This is typically done at the hearing to determine child custody, or “allocation of parental responsibilities.” The judge will carefully review any relevant factors to determine if virtual visitation is appropriate. Generally, some contact is better than no contact, so it is always a good idea to ask about the possibility of virtual visitation.

If a person has a current visitation schedule in place, he or she can ask the judge to modify the visitation order to make time for virtual visitation. It is important to take proactive steps since virtual visitation rights are not granted automatically.

Contact a Wheaton Child Visitation Lawyer

Sometimes distance prevents a parent from physically spending time with his or her child after a divorce. Today’s modern electronic devices allow for enhanced communication even if people are miles apart. The experienced legal team at Anderson and Associates, P.C. understands how important and valuable the time you spend with your child is. A compassionate DuPage County family law attorney can help you schedule parenting time to help maintain a healthy relationship with your child. Call 630-653-9400 today to schedule your free consultation. 




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