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Virtual visitation in Florida: What you should know

Since the advent of the internet, Florida parents can visit with their children via a lot more ways than the telephone and in person. Indeed, parents can call on Skype, chat on Facebook and spend time with their children "virtually" through different internet-based platforms.

In response to the growing trend in virtual visitation, the state of Florida has enacted laws to allow virtual visitation orders by the court in child custody cases. Other states throughout the nation are considering similar laws. Even states that have yet to pass such laws may allow for virtual visitation decisions in certain circumstances.

In Florida, virtual visitation laws intend for virtual visitation to supplement rather than replace face-to-face parenting time. The laws require parents to:

-- Allow and encourage visits between their children and the other parent online

-- Make the option of virtual visitation available

-- Let children communicate with the other parent without eavesdropping or censoring

Some of the different ways that virtual visitation might happen in Florida include:

-- Webcam chats and video conferencing

-- Email

-- Instant messaging

-- Interactions on social media, like Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook.

-- The use of picture sharing websites like Picasa, Kodak Gallery and Shutterfly.

If you feel that your virtual visitation rights have been compromised in Florida, a family law attorney may be able to help protect your rights in court. Barring certain circumstances, in most cases, a parent can get the virtual visitation rights that he or she is being denied. Often, if the other parent is being uncooperative, all that is required is a simple letter that describes the law and the other parent's legal obligations to provide virtual visitation opportunities between you and your child.

Source: FindLaw, "Virtual Visitation," accessed March 10, 2017

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