Virtual visitation

The issue of child visitation is a very hotly and bitterly contested issue among many parents who find themselves in a divorce court.  Using technology in this process, "virtual visitation," has only recently come to the fore. Below is a guest post from one of the leading Family Law attorneys in Southern California.


How many people have gone through a child custody battle themselves, or know someone who has gone through such a battle?  Every day, parents fight in the courtroom to be able to see their children, to spend time with them, to interact and share the lives of their children.  I just successfully finished a 4-day trial advocating for a father to insure his children were not moved out of state by their mother.

What about Abbie Dorn, a woman who was left paralyzed while giving birth to her triplets?  Abbie has been fighting to see her triplets and today in the Los Angeles Superior Court, Abbie Dorn was granted visitation.

Parents all over the country fight to see their children, but this past week, the New York Times published an article which advocated “virtual visitation” via Facebook.  This article was not about monitoring your children’s interactions to insure their safety and well-being, but rather it was about reading your children’s Facebook pages as a means of being involved in your children’s lives.

To me, this is no different than reading your child’s diary as a means of staying involved rather than fostering a communicative relationship.  “Virtual visitation” to me is absurd if intended to be the means of maintaining a relationship.  The world has turned impersonal with an advent of technology.  This should not be the case in a parent/child relationship.  Parents who seek success in their relationship with their children and in the courtroom need to be directly involved with their children and to interact with their children to create a strong parent-child bond.

Marlo Van Oorschot



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