When exes share children, there are a number of ways that they can split their parenting time. Sometimes, when physical parenting time is not an option, virtual visitation can be a good way for parents in Oregon to remain in contact with their kids. While it offers a lot of benefits if used appropriately, it can also cause some problems.

What is virtual visitation? Who can get it? What are the pros and cons of including it in a custody agreement?

The basics of virtual visitation

Virtual visitation is where parents have the ability to use various forms of technology to remain in contact with their children, such as:

  • Video calling
  • Utilizing social media accounts
  • Texting
  • Emailing

You might be wondering why you would need permission to contact your kids using any of these methods. The truth is, there are a number of reasons why permission for this type of communication turns out to be necessary. First, when children split time between parents, each parent deserves uninterrupted time with the kids. Second, it keeps everyone on the same page about acceptable forms of contact. Finally, third, it allows for schedule interruptions in parenting time if one parent is unable to spend physical time with the kids.

Who can get it?

Any parent who requests virtual visitation should be able to get it included in their custody plan unless there is a valid reason to deny such a request — such as a history of physical abuse or substance abuse, among other things.

Pros and cons

The biggest benefit of virtual visitation is that it allows parents another way to be more involved in their children’s lives. It really can help build the parent-child relationship. A few ways to use virtual visitation for the good of the family include:

  • Reading bedtime stories
  • Witnessing live events — such as sports, plays and other activities
  • Helping with school work
  • Seeing facial expressions when talking

The biggest downside to virtual visitation is the potential for parental alienation. It happens all of the time; exes who are angry with each other use their kids to hurt each other. If a custody plan includes virtual visitation, the parent with primary physical custody may consistently deny virtual contact. The parent using virtual visitation may use his or her time to say negative things to the children about the other parent or use it too frequently that it cuts into the other parent’s time with the kids.

To include it or not?

At the end of the day, virtual visitation has a lot of benefits when used the right way. If you think it could be good for you and your children, getting it included in your custody plan may be possible. Restrictions can be set for how to use it and how often. If any problems arise, you can make modifications to either remove it from your custody plan or adjust the terms.