Virtual Visitation and Parenting Time Lawyers Monmouth and Ocean County NJ

When co-parents are developing a shared parenting time agreement to determine how they will share visitation with their child, many factors must be considered.

The New Normal: Virtual Parenting TimeDepending on the custody agreement or co-parenting arrangement that the court has ordered, each parent will get a set amount of time they are legally entitled to spend with their child. Usually, that visitation happens in person, and a detailed parenting time agreement holds the specifics of that schedule. However, in this time of Covid-19 and its changes to the nature of visitation, many courts and co-parents are looking to virtual visitation as a way for parents to spend quality time with their children.

The shift to virtual visits has served as a response to the difficulty many parents have had with safely visiting their children during the Covid-19 pandemic. Because of quarantine requirements and disrupted public transportation, many co-parents have had to work together to develop alternate means of meeting their parenting time agreements. While these agreements are court-ordered and must be upheld to the extent that parents can safely do so, many co-parents are petitioning the New Jersey Superior Court to update their parenting time agreements, aligning them with the new normal of safety for their children and families.

However, the pandemic isn’t the only reason that many co-parents are turning to virtual visits to augment their parenting time agreements. With the many advances in technology, children can have a meaningful connection with their parents despite parents residing in a different home. In fact, many New Jersey parenting time agreements are now being negotiated with specific tenets addressing how close connection between co-parents and their children will be maintained across the varying co-parenting arrangements using virtual communication methods. Some court-approved parenting time agreements include daily or weekly video calls between a child and their non-custodial parent as a strategic way to cultivate a sense of closeness with both parents regardless of the terms of the custodial agreement.

Below, we’ll explore a couple of different methods of building a bond with your child while apart, whether it is due to the terms of your custodial agreement, where you are in the schedule of your parenting time agreement, or the circumstances of Covid-19.

Video Calls with Screen Share

Video Calls with Screen ShareIn the era of Coronavirus, Zoom has taken charge as a way for businesses to maintain their productivity and intra-office communication streams. The platform’s benefits, which include the capacity to share your screen or draw on a whiteboard while still seeing the participants’ faces, can easily be transferred to parent-child communication. In addition to creating the obvious benefit of letting your child see your face as they hear your voice and continue getting to know you by your body language and non-verbal cues, Zoom creates the capacity for parents to maintain a close connection with the activities and growth areas of their child. For example, parents and their children can work on homework together or play games by using the whiteboard function.

Multiple Callers Video

Apps like WhatsApp and Apple Facetime are great options for virtual communication as part of a parenting time agreement. This is not only because they provide parents and children with the capacity to tune into important non-verbal communication cues that build the subconscious bond, but because they allow for shared visits with, for example, grandparents. The inclusion of any other person in a co-parent’s visitation is, of course, subject to the granted permission of the New Jersey Superior Court. As is the case in an in-person visitation, certain permissions must be granted to include a third-party, even someone as close as an aunt, uncle, or grandparent. Once permission is granted, however, joint calls can create simple rituals for the co-parent and child that are keys to building a healthy, well-rounded relationship. Think Sunday afternoon virtual family gatherings, where grandparents, aunts and uncles, and the parent connect with the child over a video call, with the express intention of building a ritual of family togetherness and continuity – checking in about how the week has been; sharing funny or inspiring stories from the week; and setting intentions for the week ahead, at school and at home. One can not underestimate the power of physical and emotional connection to a child’s holistic development, even if that connection is virtual. Consider adding regular virtual communication modes to your parenting time agreement.

Contact a Brick and Sea Girt NJ Visitation Attorney Today

At Peter J. Bronzino, our family law attorneys support clients across Point Pleasant, Asbury Park, Spring Lake, Brick, and all of Eastern New Jersey in all matters regarding custody arrangements and parenting time agreements.

To schedule a consultation with a member of our team today regarding your parenting time agreement, please get in touch with us by calling (732) 812-3102 or fill out our online form.