Your Guide to Virtual Visitation Rights in Florida
Living separately from your children always presents some challenges. Although, with modern technology, parents have more options than ever to help them keep in close contact with their kids — regardless of where they live. To account for this change, Florida enacted a virtual visitation law.
Also known as the electronic communication statute, this law helps to resolve issues separated parents may have related to phone calls, text messages, and video chats with their kids. Here, our Tampa child custody lawyers provide an overview of the most important things that parents need to know about virtual visitation rights in Florida.
Virtual Visitation: Understanding the Basics
Under Florida law (Florida Statutes § 61.13003), virtual visitation is defined as any form of electronic communication that can potentially be used to facilitate a positive, ongoing relationship between a parent and a child that lives in another home. Notably, the state uses a broad definition of the types of electronic communication that can be used for virtual visitation. Among other things, virtual visitation can take place through:
- Telephone calls;
- Text messages;
- E-mail messages;
- Internet-based messages apps;
- Facebook, Instagram, and other social media services; and
- Skype and other video messaging services.
Florida law views electronic communication as a part of overall visitation rights. Any virtual visitation that is set by the court or that is voluntarily agreed to in a shared parent arrangement will be considered in light of the actual time each parent will physically be with the child. For example, if one parent lives far away from their children and they get relatively little physical visitation time, a Florida court will generally be more sympathetic to a claim that they need broad and well-defined virtual visitation time.
How Florida Courts Deal With Virtual Visitation
As with other issues related to children, the most important thing to keep in mind is that Florida courts will always put an emphasis on the health, safety, and emotional well-being of the child. The desires of the parents are a secondary consideration. When Florida family courts step in to create a virtual visitation or electronic communication arrangement, they are required to make sure that:
- Any virtual visitation arrangement in the best interests of the child; and
- Any court-mandated visitation is reasonable and practicable, given the specific circumstances of the case.
Parents can often achieve the best resolution by working collaboratively to craft an electronic communication agreement that is well suited for their unique situation. Our Tampa child custody attorneys have extensive experience protecting parental rights and helping them achieve their objectives.
Speak to Our Tampa, FL Child Custody Lawyers Today
At Bubley & Bubley, P.A., our compassionate Florida family lawyers always take a personal approach to child custody and visitation child cases. Your voice always deserves to be heard. If you have questions or concerns about virtual visitation rights in Tampa, FL, we are here to offer guidance. To set up a fully confidential review of your custody or visitation case, please contact our law firm today.