With the advancements in technology, and with more children becoming familiar with the family computer, parents and children are finding communication via email, Facebook, Skype, or text message a common alternative to face-to-face conversations. With an adult-child of our own, living on the other side of the country, my wife and I use a combination of these methods to maintain communication with her; likewise, as an adult-child myself, I communicate with my out-of-state father in similar fashion.
In making orders of child custody and visitation, the Court must consider the “best interest of the child” before deciding where and with whom the child will live. More and more, single parents who obtain custody are moving away from the non-custodial parent’s city, leaving that parent wondering how they will maintain frequent and continual contact with their child.
Frequently, courts include terms within their orders that provide for phone calls and “virtual visitation” via Skype, where the parent and child use a web-based program and camera to speak with each other while looking at each other. On the surface, this seems like a quick fix; but Skype (along with other forms of non-personal contact) may cut both ways. While providing people the opportunity to “see” each other, or the ability to show off school work and projects, a Skype interaction may leave the parties feeling, let down. You can’t hug your child through a web-cam, nor can you tuck your little one in through a phone line. Skype is a great program, if utilized properly it allows children and parents the chance to “visit” between visits. But it does not allow the children to personally interact with each parent. In addition, the custodial parent now must plan their days around scheduled Skype times, which must occur in front of computer, opposed to a phone call from the car.
I have heard from clients the pros and cons of using Skype; some like it, some despise it. The fact is; Skype (or every other type of non-personal communication) fills a void – a void typically created by distance between parents who share a child. It may not be the best solution, but it may be the one you’re stuck with. As a custodial parent, if you decide to move away, you may saddle your child with a technological relationship. Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.
If you have questions about child visitation orders, move away orders, or the use of Skype for visitations purposes, the Law Office of Heath L. Baker will help you. Please contact us at (951) 222-2228, or at our website: www.heathbakerlaw.com. We would love to talk to you in person and discuss the family law or divorce issues that are important to you.