2 virtual visitation issues that should be discussed
The Digital Age has inspired all kinds of changes – and that includes how parents often communicate with their children. If you’re currently living at a distance from your child due to a separation or divorce from your co-parent, there’s no reason not to make use of digital devices to keep in touch.
“Virtual” visitation has become a new normal for a lot of co-parents, but you shouldn’t try to navigate the situation without some ground rules. Here are things that need to be discussed with your co-parent in advance.
How do you intend to schedule your visits?
You have to take into account any scheduling conflicts that may affect your ability to have regular virtual visits with your child. Look at everybody’s work or school schedules and time zone differences so that you can create a schedule for your visits. Your child’s age may also come into play. For example, a teen may be much more available in the late evening than a toddler. Aim for some kind of agreement with your co-parent and child about how long and how often each scheduled visit will be. You should also discuss the frequency and timing of “unscheduled” check-ins, calls or other forms of communication, like email and text messages.
How much does your co-parent need to be involved?
You probably would prefer “private time” with your child, whenever possible. If your child is older or just adept at handling digital devices, there’s little reason for your co-parent to be involved in your virtual visits. If your child is very young, however, you may need your co-parent to facilitate the visits, but you should have some mutual understanding of what happens after each visit starts. That may mean your co-parent withdraws to another room for the duration or simply stays quiet in the background.
Remember, the focus should always be on what is in the best interest of the child and fostering a healthy and meaningful relationship between the child and both parents, even in a virtual setting. A well-written parenting plan that addresses these issues and more can help.