A Helpful Aid for Long-Distance Access: Skype Visitation

When a couple has divorced and one or both of the parties has moved out of the area, it can make it can become extremely difficult and sometimes impossible for the non-custodial parent to have frequent access and communication with the children.  With the increasing mobility of our society and the much more typical career changes that seem to be a staple of our current economic times, this situation has become a very common occurrence.

Standard Possession Order Visitation Schedule – Long Distance Access

This situation is so common in fact that the Texas Standard Possession visitation schedule (the one that is included in some form in most court orders involving child possession and access) has provisions that address both when the parents live within 100 miles of each other and also when they live further than 100 miles apart. The over and under 100 mile schedules are fairly similar to each other in most respects, with a few key differences.

Under the statute the non-custodial parent who lives more than 100 miles away is actually still entitled to exercise every other weekend visitation, if that party so chooses.  While this might work for a dad living in Houston whose kids live in Austin, this is not so practical if that same dad got a job transfer to Seattle.  In that case, visitation usually ends up degenerating into a limited number of longer visits, such as the summer and Christmas breaks.

Keeping in Touch with Your Child When You Live Far Away

So how can a person in this situation stay in touch with his or her children when frequent in-person visitation is just not possible?  In the past the best you could do was make frequent and regular phone calls.  But now technology has improved significantly on this. With the advent of Skype and Apple Facetime software, all it takes is a webcam and the visiting parent can have a much more interactive experience with their child.

I have had many clients who have requested and gotten orders that include routine skype access in addition to their regularly scheduled visitation periods.  The schedule and lengths of time the sessions last vary based on the particulars of the case and also the age of the child.  Clients who have utilized this technology have given it high marks as compared to just a phone call. If your situation involves long distance access this is something that you might want to consider in your divorce case.

 

 

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Scott Morgan is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He has practiced family law since 1994 and is the founder of the Morgan Law Firm which is dedicated exclusively to representing divorce and family law clients in the Houston and Austin areas.

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