Family law: How can Skype and FaceTime benefit divorced families?

When parents in Alberta and elsewhere end their marriages, one of the biggest concerns for the parents who will leave the matrimonial home might be losing contact with the children. However, modern technology provides an answer with the availability of Skype, FaceTime and more. To help professionals in the mental health and family law fields understand the role these Internet programs can play in the post-divorce lives of parents, a social work professor in another state is conducting a study.

A survey is used to collect data from divorced or separated parents for the study of which the conclusion is expected to be available before the winter. The professor says both challenges and benefits will become clearer once the observed data — which has never before been gathered — is analyzed. The results are expected to show that the greatest value would be for circumstances in which one parent relocates to an area far away from the child. Using one of these online communication tools that allow face-to-face contact can help to maintain that vital parent-child relationship despite the distance between them.

However, the professor predicts that the gathered data might indicate some financial barriers for families with restricted budgets that might not have easy access to the necessary devices or the Internet. Another concerning issue might arise when the separated parents have a contentious and high-conflict relationship, and the possibility of the distant parent to use this platform to manipulate the child. Programs such as Skype also allow the other parent to see right into the homes of the former spouse — something with which the custodial parent might not feel comfortable.

Hopefully, this study will provide answers to many questions about the pros and cons of the value of technology in family law issues such as parent-child communication. Parents who prioritize the happiness and interests of their children might find that there is a host of ways in which to utilize the Internet to benefit the children — such as a distant parent reading bedtime stories to a toddler. Alberta parents who have questions about incorporating Skype or FaceTime into their parenting plans can discuss the matter with an experienced family law lawyer for advice and guidance.

Source: FindLaw Canada, “Study will examine use of technology in child-parent communication during divorce and separation“, Alexia Kapralos, Accessed on July 7, 2017

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