It seems that the idea of “virtual visitation” (i.e. using video-conferencing services such as skype, ichat, etc.) has become all the rage in recent months, especially after a court in New York ordered three skype visits per week between a father and his children that were being moved to Florida.  Baker v. Baker (New York Law Journal, No. 29610-2007).

The mother was facing foreclosure, and used that as her rationale to move the family to Florida.  When it appears that the court is going to allow the custodial parent to move out of state, then I would strongly encourage the non-custodial parent to ask the court to provide for “virtual visitation”.

My personal opinion is that the decision to move the children out of state and away from their non-custodial parent should not be taken lightly.  I do not feel that virtual communication can make up for person interaction, eating, playing, and taking trips together – but it could be the best way to handle a non-optimal situation.

North Carolina puts the burden on the non-custodial parent to object to the relocation and show that the relocation will prevent a realistic visitation schedule that would continue to “preserve and foster the parental relationship.”  Once the court determines that the relocation is appropriate, only then can the court consider virtual visitation under NCGS 50-13.2(e).