Being a parent is not easy under the best of circumstances. When Illinois parents decide to divorce, the job takes on new dimensions. Staying connected to the children is just one of the hurdles they need to account for when working out a child custody agreement. For instance, technology could provide a way for a noncustodial parent to keep in touch when not with the children.

Illinois is one of a handful of states that pioneered the approval of virtual visitation in child custody matters. Skype, FaceTime and other applications provide parents a way to see their children every day. They can read bedtime stories, catch up on what is going on their children’s lives and even help with homework. Granted, a phone call can do the same thing, but being able to see the changes in facial expression and watch children as they grow is priceless.

The parents are not the only ones who receive benefits from this type of visitation. It gives the children access to each parent regardless of whether they are physically with them or not. The parent who does have physical custody of the children must allow the other parent unsupervised time to virtually visit with the children, encourage and permit these visits, and make the children available for them.

One thing that both parents need to understand is that virtual visitation should not replace actual visits with the children. They are meant to supplement the time the noncustodial parent gets to be with the children in person. However, that also means that when the children are with that parent, the primary custodial parent may also receive the same consideration.