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.