Communication technology and co-parenting

In divorce cases, residents of Florida may know that child custody issues often arise. The parents may settle this issue through negotiation; however, if they can’t reach an agreement, the court will make the decision. Whoever decides, child custody decisions must always be in the best interests of the child.

Once the parents have settled the custody issues, the next challenge the parents face may be how they will raise their child. Guidebooks and parenting programs may help them co-parent. These learning materials contain techniques and ideas about effective communication that may help non-custodial parents maintain a healthy relationship with their children.

One such technique is virtual visitation, which requires the use of technology to stay connected with the child. This type of visitation may include email, instant messaging, video conferencing, and the use of social media. Requests for such arrangements are generally made by the non-custodial parent when the custodial parent seeks to move out of the area with the child.

Several states, including Florida, have passed laws allowing courts to order online or electronic visitation in child custody matters. However, the point to note here is that virtual visitation laws are meant to supplement regular visitation and are not an alternative to traditional in-person parenting-time.

There are also both advantages and drawbacks to such arrangements. Considering the growing number of divorced parents opting for co-parenting, virtual visitation benefits the parent-child relationship. Despite the distance, parents become more involved in their children’s lives – reading bedtime stories for the child; enquiring about school activities and upcoming events; helping with homework or a special project; talking about day-to-day occurrences; and many more. On the flip side, while instant messaging, social media sites, and other forms of electronic communication may be helpful when the non-custodial parent is physically absent, many believe that virtual visitation may be viewed as an alternative, and not as a supplement, for conventional in-person visits.

Conflict is common in divorce. However, parents should set aside their differences and focus on raising the children. Raising the child effectively is possible with the other parent’s cooperation.