Virtual Visitation: Webcams and Weekly Visits

Proponents of the Web cam option seek to get it included in custody agreements and in state custody laws.

But not everyone is ready for it.

Instead of counting the months until she would see her son each summer, Carrie Hammond needed only count the hours until Kegan’s face would light up her computer screen. Though Kegan, 6, was in Tennessee with his father, and Hammond, 27, lived in San Marcos, the two were participating in virtual visitation as part of the family’s child-custody agreement by making video calls via Web cameras. "It’s been instrumental in keeping the relationship strong," Hammond said, recalling their hours-long, twice-weekly Web cam sessions.

Recently, Kegan chose to move in with Hammond, a decision she attributes to the emotional closeness the Web cams afforded them for four years.

Virtual visitation is becoming a popular way to incorporate the potential of modern technology into the lives of parents and children separated by divorce and distance. Utah, Wisconsin and most recently, Missouri, have made virtual visitation state law, and several other state legislatures, including those in California and Ohio, are considering making it a formal supplement to physical custody arrangements.