How parents, children, siblings, cousins, close friends, grandparents and grandchildren use new technologies to remain closely connected despite distance, divorce, military assignment or longterm travel
Chicago Tribune: "Language added to an Illinois law this month includes virtual visitation among the rights of noncustodial parents, making it enforceable by a judge. According to the measure, parents are entitled to electronic visits unless the court believes that contact would be harmful to the child."
"Virtual Parents: How Virtual Visitation Legislation Is Shaping The Future of Custody Law" is an in-depth report in The Journal of Law and Family Studies. Lisa Belkin in her "Motherlode blog: Adventures in Parenting" summarized the article for The New York Times. There are also some insightful comments at the end of the blog post, including an insightful one by the leader of virtual visitation legislation, Michael Gough.
"Legislators and judges play an important role in legitimizing the use of virtual visitation between parents and children. Experts are needed to examine ways that virtual visitation can enhance relationships and advance societal interests. Parents like Michael Gough provide examples of how virtual visitation allows non-custodial parents to touch the lives of their children on a daily basis. Through effective legislation, states can facilitate parent-child interaction and, despite being thousands of miles apart, bring parents like Michael Gough back into the lives of their children."
Missouri almost became the THIRD state to pass virtual visitation legislation. Led by the efforts of Representative Michael Brown, Representative Patricia Yeager and our own Michael Gough, the Missouri legislature passed HB 1451 and SB1058. But in confusion following the legislative session, the bill was not sent to Governor Matt Blunt for signing. So the legislation will be introduced on a fast-track come January 2007.
Since the passage of laws in Utah and Wisconsin, legislation has also been introduced in Missouri, Illinois, Virginia, and South Carolina. In Ohio, legislation is being prepared by Senator Marc Dunn. Legisatlion is in pre-draft stage in 11 states. More.
One of the best video news reports so far interviewing a father who virtually visits with his daughter was conducted by NBC 15 in Madison, Wisconsin. Michael Gough explains how and why he does it. He's responsible for legislation passing in two states now that gives non-custodial parents the right to communicate by webcam with their children. Watch the video clip. Read the text of the news story.
Thanks to our efforts, South Carolina State Senator William Mescher has introduced legislation giving parents the right to virtually visit with children. While the legislation probably won't go anywhere this year due to little time left in the legislative session, it'll be on a fast track for next year, Mescher's aides say. -- Jim Buie
Listen to Michael Gough's March 28 interview with WCCO CBS Radio by Pat Miles and Susie Jones. Listen. In January, WCLO Talk Show host Stan Milam interviewed Michael on the passing of the Wisconsin Bill. Listen.
KSL News Radio in Salt Lake City interviewed John Gough about visiting with his granddaughter over the webcam, as well as John's son, Michael, who sparked legislation in Utah to give parents the right to virtually visit, and Joyce Maughan, Michael's attorney. Listen to the interview.
"Divorced Parents Gain Virtual Visitation Rights," is front-page piece in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "Children of divorced parents could get a high-tech boost allowing them contact with Mom or Dad over the Internet, although some fear that virtual visitation could actually reduce the amount of face-to-face time those parents spend with their kids.
"A Wisconsin measure signed into law by Gov. Jim Doyle last week says that if a court grants physical custody to both parents, electronic communications - such as instant messaging or video conferencing - with one parent may also be granted during the other parent's time with the child." Read the whole thing.