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Virtual visitation may be a good option for parents

Parents in New Orleans involved in child custody disputes with their former partner frequently find that they may be living a relatively far distance apart from their child. The parent (or his or her former spouse) may have had to move to another city for job-related reasons. No parent, of course, wants to effectively sever their relationship with their child for reasons beyond their control. In an increasingly mobile society, creative solutions to child custody are being explored.

One solution which an increasing number of parents are trying out today is referred to as "virtual visitation." A parent forced to live at a distance from their children may attempt to maintain contact using modern computer and cell phone technology, having visits with children via web cams, text messages, emails and social media such as Facebook.

The statistics are clear. Approximately 16 million children living in the U.S. today have parents who are divorced or separated. An additional 17 million children have parents who were single to begin with, adding up to as many as 35 million children whose parents may live in separate households, and sometimes in separate cities, or even states.

A study of the actual details reveals that around a fourth of all these children experience separation from a parent residing in another town. There is an extremely high rate of relocation following divorce or separation, with three quarters of all single mothers having to relocate at least once in the first four years.

Some estimate that as many as 10 million children lack the ability to have a regularly occurring in person visit with one of their parents. By utilizing these alternative methods, however, parents can stay connected with their children and maintain a consistent presence in their lives.

Source: The Washington Times, "Virtual visitation: a sensible child custody option," Myra Fleischer, April 15, 2012

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