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When divorce physically separates a family, it can be tough to make one-on-one connections. Most families settle on visitation schedules, pickups and drop-offs, and other get-together times with the help of their lawyers before their divorces are final… but even the best-laid plans don’t always work out.

When Visits are Impossible

Some families turn to tools like Skype and FaceTime when face-to-face visits aren’t possible. Letting the kids spend time with mom or dad through these applications, or others like them, can serve as a temporary fix until the situations preventing visitation are sorted out.

Psychologists suggest that as long as parents are spending quality time with kids when they are physically present, Skype and FaceTime can add to relationships and actually help them grow. Using tools like these can teach kids that even though mom or dad can’t be there, they’re doing what they can to connect because the kids are important.

Electronic Visits: Temporary versus Permanent

If a divorce causes such a geographical rift in a family that physical visits are impossible, Skype and FaceTime can fill in the gaps. However, parents who are able shouldn’t use these tools to substitute for being together in the same place at the same time.

You may want to discuss your options for changing visitation schedules with your lawyer so you can be more accessible to your kids, particularly if the schedule you have is difficult or impossible to stick to.

Making Skype and FaceTime Work for Your Family

When you do use technology to connect with your kids, make it count. Don’t multitask by catching up on emails, working or watching television in the background. It’s important that your kids know you’re setting aside time to be with them the only way you’re able, and if you’re distracted, they won’t feel like they’re in your number one spot.

Many people report being able to do age-appropriate activities with their kids while using Skype, FaceTime and other apps that allow electronic visitation. Reading stories and playing Simon Says with young children, playing board games and helping older kids with homework, or just actively listening to kids of all ages can help turn these electronic visits into quality time.

What Your Lawyer Might Suggest

Your lawyer might suggest changing your visitation schedule so it better fits your needs. Extensive research has shown that while kids benefit from phone calls and text messages, letters and emails, and apps like these, nothing can compare to the loving physical presence of a parent.

Remember, your lawyer is on your side. He or she will be able to help you come up with a fair solution that allows you as much time as possible with your kids.