My ex wants to relocate with our daughter to California. Can I ask the court to require Internet visits as a condition to have the child be relocated?
UPDATED: February 10, 2020
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When one parent relocates to a new state, his or her visitation time with his child may be affected. To help parents maintain a relationship with their kids who don't live locally, some court systems in the United States are turning to the idea of Internet visits. In a child visitation case, a court will not force a parent and child who do not wish to communicate this way to do so, but if a custodial parent is moving and the non-custodial parent wants more time, Internet visits can most certainly be used as a tool, as required by the court. In general, both parents and children are usually enthusiastic about child visitation via the Internet, since they don't affect actual physical visitation time together – the visits only adds more communication between them.
The Rules for Internet Visits
Usually, for an Internet child visitation agreement to be put into place, all those involved must be amenable to the idea. However, there are times when, if a custodial parent wants to move and isn't eager for the idea of Internet visits, the court may order them as a requirement or condition of the move. In such cases, the parent will have to comply and make sure the child is home and provided with the proper Internet connection for the visit.
In one particular case in New York, for example, Skype visits (Internet telephone calls) were mandated as a condition in order for one of the parents to move to another state. Other courts have also required Internet visitation time for non-custodial parents to help preserve the parent/child bond.
How Internet Visits Work
Internet visits are typically done over webcam. They may also include email and text. Phone calls also generally fall into the same category of electronic visiting. This type of visit can supplement the typical custodial schedule and fill in gaps of time when it may not be possible for the parent and child to be together.
If you are trying to find a child visitation situation that works for you, consulting with a lawyer can be invaluable. Your lawyer can explain the best options for your situation under the laws of your state.