The Rise of Technology and Parent-Child Communication
Along with the rapid rise in technology has come the potential for different types of communications between parent and child that stretch far beyond the traditional in-person visits, letter, and phone calls. Many states, including the state of Florida, are increasingly enacting specific legislation that includes electronic forms of communication between parent and child as a way to promote time-sharing and foster the relationship between a child and both of his or her parents. These communications might include text messages, e-mails, webcam usage, Skype, Facetime, and other similar applications, particularly when there is some distance between a child and his or her parent.
The Necessity of Parent-Child Electronic Communications
We have become an increasingly mobile society, with many families moving from state to state, or even to other countries, for new jobs and new relationships. In fact, the National Center for State Courts estimates that almost 35 million children in the United States live in homes with only one biological parent, and that about a quarter of these children – some nine million children – have parents that live in different cities. This increases the need for so-called “virtual visitation.” Whether parents and children supplement their in-person parenting time with Facebook messages, Instagram photos, or video-conferencing equipment, electronic communication is clearly playing a much larger part in parent-child relationships in recent years, particularly where there is some distance between parent and child. While electronic communications cannot replace face-to-face time spent together, this type of contact does allow parents to share in the events of a child’s day when he or she otherwise would be unable to do so.
Florida’s Court-Ordered Electronic Communications Between Parent and Child
Florida law specifically deals with electronic communications between parent and child. In determining whether a parenting plan should include provisions for electronic communications, a judge must find that doing so is in the best interest of the child. The court also must explore the reasonable availability, accessibility, and cost of facilitating electronic communications between parent and child, as well as any history of substance abuse or domestic violence on the part of a parent.
Nonetheless, Florida law creates a rebuttable presumption that it is in a child’s best interests for there to be reasonable telephone communication between parent and child. Furthermore, if the judge chooses to order some sort of electronic communications, he or she can place certain limits on those communications, as well as allocate the costs of such communications between the parents. Plus, each parent must provide the other parent with the means of accessing electronic communications with the child.
Call Vanessa L. Prieto and Schedule a Consultation Today
At the Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC in Fort Lauderdale, we pride ourselves on offering you the comprehensive legal advice and representation that you need when facing issues related to electronic communications between parents and child, time-sharing plans, or any other type of family law issue. Contact our office today by calling 954-800-2362 or filling out the online form located on our website.