According to the Montreal Gazette – and my own personal experience – court orders for online access to children are becoming more common:
Though video chats are still a privilege for most, they’re becoming a right for an increasing number of Canadian parents.
“Virtual visitation” will soon be fully entrenched in the language of divorce, as more and more broken families are subject to court orders for everything from parent-child Skype calls to scheduled instant-messaging sessions.
For now, this kind of plugged-in parenting is enforced primarily with couples facing distance hurdles -father on the East Coast, mother on the West Coast, for example. But with six U.S. states having included virtual visitation in their legislation, and Canadian courts ordering it on a case-by-case basis in nearly every jurisdiction, experts predict it won’t be long before digital rights are a fixture in custodial agreements of every stripe.
“I don’t think it has quite hit critical mass but it’s clearly getting there,” says Garry J. Wise, a family law lawyer from Toronto. “Virtual visitation now comes up as a matter of routine when an issue of mobility is raised.”
In August, an Ontario mother was granted permission to relocate with her twin sons to the United Kingdom, provided her ex-husband -who planned to remain in Canada -was afforded “reasonable telephone and webcam access” with his children.
Similarly, in February, a Halifax mother had her request to move to Missouri granted on the condition that virtual visits took place twice a week between daughter and father via computer.
But Wise, of Wise Law Office, hastens to add that such technology “doesn’t amount to a carte blanche notion where … you can move anywhere you want without consequences.”