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When physical custody and digital communication collide

We live in a world where we can find and contact just about anyone. Between social media apps, websites, blogs, emails and texts, communication is easier and more varied than ever before.

As beneficial as this may be under most circumstances, electronic communication is not a replacement for personal interaction. Of course resources like Skype, FaceTime, online chatting and texts can keep people who may have otherwise drifted apart or never met closer, but they are still not a substitution for face-to-face interactions. At least, they aren't when it comes to custody and visitation laws in North Carolina.

State laws dictate that electronic communication cannot be used in place of custody or visitation. It can, however, be used to supplement visitation. For example, video chatting with your child when he or she is with the other parent is generally okay. Assuming that you can move away as the custodial parent because your child can talk to the other parent through electronic communication is not.

A parent who has custody or visitation rights needs to understand and protect these rights to have face-to-face contact with a child. 

As we mentioned above, however, electronic communication can be a valuable tool in supplementing physical custody. Allowing kids to call and chat with either parent can help them feel connected to both parents regardless of where they are physically. However, parents can put some limits in place so that electronic communication does not interfere with each other's parenting time. These limits can be addressed in a parenting plan.

Communication is one of the most important factors when it comes to custody and visitation. However, not all forms of communication are created equal in the eyes of the law. Discussing your questions and concerns about electronic communication and visitation with your attorney can help you avoid costly mistakes and protect your relationship with your child.

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