As society and technology progresses, one would imagine that the law would attempt to reflect the nature of modern times. Families have evolved over the last several decades and, fortunately, Illinois child custody and visitation laws have, in some ways, grown to suit the needs of 21st century parents and their children.
Not long ago, Illinois lawmakers passed a law that recognizes the legal right for parents to request "virtual visitation" time. The advent of technologies, such as video chatting, has made it possible for non-custodial parents who do not live in the same city as their children to spend quality time with them. If a family falls into this situation, a family court judge can allot virtual visitation time as they would any other aspect of a custody and visitation arrangement.
The National Center for State Courts released a study showing that 18 million American children have separated or divorced parents. Additionally, the survey indicated that about three of every four single mothers relocate within four years of separating or divorcing. This puts millions of children in a situation where they probably do not have regular in-person contact with their non-custodial parent. This is exactly the type of case in which virtual visitation time could be appropriate.
Of course, the most important aspect in creating any custody or visitation arrangement is preserving the best interests of the children involved. For numerous Illinois families, the law has granted more options to make visitation possible in spite of geographical limitations.
The reality is that, in many cases, children benefit from having exposure to both of their parents, so hopefully couples attempt to work together in order to make an agreement that is beneficial for all involved parties. In cases where parents cannot come to an agreement over custody and visitation, a family law judge will determine the best possible arrangement, which could include virtual visitation time when applicable.
Source: The Washington Times, "Virtual visitation: a sensible child custody option," Myra Fleischer, April 15, 2012