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Virtual Visitation: Parenting Time in the Digital Age

Now more than ever, parents and kids use technology to keep in touch. Advances including Zoom, FaceTime, email, and text have made it possible for parents and their children to forge close connections through a virtual visitation—even when one parent lives far away.

Texas law has changed over time, as well. Texas is one of several states that allow virtual visitation. The law is codified in Texas Family Code Section 153.015. Also called “e-visitation” or “e-access,” virtual visitation helps parents stay close to their children by having regularly scheduled online visits. 

It’s most often used in certain situations:  

  • When one parent lives far away, like in a different state or country
  • When frequent contact between the parent and child is required
  • When a family’s schedule or special needs make virtual visitation in the child’s best interests

Virtual Visitation Rules

Virtual visitation is allowed by Texas courts only when it’s in the best interests of the child. Courts weigh a series of factors to determine this, including the child’s needs and the parent’s capacity. Courts also make sure that the family has access to the technology necessary to make this work smoothly. It may seem like this is a given, but many people still struggle with access to technology.

Generally, courts order virtual visitation to supplement in-person visitation—not to replace it. A typical schedule may involve some virtual visitation in between periods of regular in-person visitation. For example, maybe Dad’s regular days are Tuesday and Thursday, but he likes to attend his kids’ soccer games virtually or help with homework on the days he’s not there in person.

There are some situations—like when a parent is an abuser or has substance abuse issues—that virtual visitation may not be appropriate. Courts look to protect children from their abusers, and virtual visitation is not adequate protection.

Parents must also promise not to interfere in the virtual visitation. It works best in situations in which a parent lets the child talk freely with the other parent without the conversation being monitored or interfered with.

Get the Support You Need To Bring You and Your Kids Closer

If you’re thinking that virtual visitation might be an option for you and your family, talk with the lawyers at the Schneider Law Firm. At our Ft. Worth law office, our attorneys can represent you in the child custody matters you face. Call 817-755-1852 or send us a message to discuss your situation and how we can get the best possible outcome for you.

What Is Parental Alienation?

Sometimes, one parent actively tries to undermine a child’s relationship with the other parent. A parent may do this by talking badly about the other parent in front of the child or by taking steps to prevent the other parent from having visitation. This is called parental alienation.

Signs of Parental Alienation

Courts often deal with divorces and child custody disputes that involve allegations of parental alienation. Typically, one side takes action that limits the other side’s parenting time or affects the child’s views of the other parent. The court must assess the situation and determine if the behavior rises to the level of parental alienation.

There can be many signs that parental alienation is affecting your relationship with your child, including:

  • Making negative comments about the other parent to the child
  • Allowing others around the child to make negative comments about the other parent
  • Unnecessarily involving the child in divorce details
  • Making the child unavailable during scheduled visits with the other parent
  • Concealing important information about the child’s schedule and activities from the other parent
  • Monitoring and preventing communications between the child and the other parent

How Parental Alienation Can Affect Your Divorce or Child Custody Case

The State of Texas doesn’t provide legal standards for evaluating parental alienation. However, Texas courts have started to act when they suspect parental alienation, and they’ve been taking matters seriously.

In divorces or child custody cases involving parental alienation, a judge may order that the child receives therapy or that the child may spend more time with the alienated parent. In extreme and serious cases, the parent who is causing the alienation may lose custody of the child.

What To Do if Parental Alienation Is Affecting Your Relationship With Your Child

If you believe that parental alienation is a factor in your divorce or child custody dispute, it’s important to get help. If the situation is left to go on too long, it may permanently damage your relationship with your child. It’s not unheard of for parents to lose months—or even years—of time with their children, just because the other parent shared nasty rumors and false information.

Talk With Our Lawyers About Child Custody

At the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., we work to protect your relationship with your child. For a confidential consultation, call our Ft. Worth office at 817-755-1852 or send us a message. We can answer your questions about child custody and what a judge may consider if parental alienation is involved

Saving a Marriage When One Person Wants a Divorce

When one person wants to end a marriage, but the other does not, the situation can be heartbreaking. A spouse who wants to remain in the marriage may find himself or herself wondering if there is anything they can do to save the marriage, even though the other spouse wants a divorce.

Things You May Want to Do to Save Your Marriage But Should Avoid

When your spouse wants a divorce, it might be tempting to do whatever it takes to keep them in the marriage. You might be tempted to say ‘yes’ to whatever they’d like, to cook elaborate meals, or to change your physical appearance. Sometimes spouses are even tempted to appeal to the other spouse’s family members or to start thinking about adding another baby to the family. 

These things can seem like they’d help, but they’re not a real fix. If you want your partner to stay in the marriage, you have to look more deeply—taking effective action and getting real support.

3 Actions To Take When a Spouse Wants Divorce

Instead of trying to placate your spouse or change your appearance, try to take certain actions instead:

  1. Get your spouse to participate in therapy with you: Often, when one spouse has decided on divorce, they decide to stop working on the relationship altogether. If that’s the case, there’s not much that can be done. But, if your spouse agrees to work with you to address major challenges in your relationship, you may still be able to work things out and stay together. A licensed therapist can help.
  2. Make meaningful changes in your life: Sometimes, a spouse’s wish to leave the relationship has to do with serious issues. If your spouse has given you an ultimatum because of obstacles in your life—things like your drinking, drug use, temper or unhealthy lifestyle choices—you can take this opportunity to change things for the better. Look up local support groups and attend meetings. Get a therapist or a sponsor. Do the work on yourself and save your marriage. And even if you and your spouse do not end up staying together, you will still benefit because you will be taking care of your own mental, spiritual and physical health.
  3. Rely on your support system: If you and your spouse have your faith in common, turning to your faith can help get your marriage back on track. Sometimes, marriages just go through rocky periods. If you can return to your church, pray together or seek help from a spiritual leader, you both may begin to feel better about the relationship. And if you are not religious, turning to your support network of loved ones can also be powerful. Marriages take work to be successful, but sometimes they take a community, too.

Are You Facing a Divorce? Contact an Attorney.

Deciding to divorce can be a difficult step, especially when both spouses do not agree. Call the Arlington office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125 or send us a message to talk with us about your unique situation.