Are Internet visits counted against my visitation time?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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When two parents separate, child visitation is a key issue. Technology has served to provide one more opportunity for a child to be able to visit with his non-custodial parent, but it is also an opportunity that has created new questions. The major question asked by parents is whether or not Internet visits are counted against a parent’s visitation time. In other words, if your custody agreement provides you with 10 hours a week with your child, will the Internet visit count as part of that 10 hours? The answer in most cases is no. 

Internet Visits and Your Visitation Schedule

While your child custody arrangement may mandate Internet visits, especially if you live in a virtual visitation state, in the vast majority of cases, this time will not count against you. In fact, most Internet visits are ordered in addition to your regular child visitation time and do not limit or affect your regularly scheduled visitation hours with your child in any way. If you would like to include virtual visitation into your interactions with your children, be sure to consult your family law attorney about the effect it has on your child visitation schedule. Virtual visitation can be a great way to keep in touch with your child, and it may not impact your regular visitation rights.

Benefits of Internet Visits

There are many benefits to adding Internet visits to your custody arrangement, in addition to your standard child visitation schedule. Benefits include:

  • The ability for parents and children to easily remain connected, even if the child is relocated to another state by the custodial parent.
  • The ability for parents and children to connect more frequently and interact more frequently, even when a face-to-face visit is not possible. This can help their bond to stay strong. 

Virtual Visitation States

As of 2009, six states had Internet visitation laws as part of their divorce laws. Those states included:

  • Illinois 
  • Indiana  
  • Florida 
  • North Carolina 
  • Texas
  • Utah

Additional states were and are working on passing similar legislation. 

Getting Help

If you are separating from your child and wish to take all steps necessary to maintain the strongest relationship possible, you should speak with a child custody lawyer about how to work Internet visits into your custody arrangement.  

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