Earlier this month, a New York judge ruled that a custodial parent relocating outside the state with her child, provide the noncustodial parent a chance to keep in contact with the child through Skype. The woman in this case was relocating to Florida with her child because of a home foreclosure. The judge permitted the move, under the condition that the woman provide the father access to the child via Skype, several times a week.
Further, the judge ordered that the custodial parent making the move provide all equipment necessary for Skype interaction, including a computer, Internet connection and headsets. This is the first time that a judge in New York has actually brought up interaction via Skype as part of the conditions for permission for a custodial parent to relocate.
While interacting with the kids while Skype is not exactly the ideal situation for a noncustodial parent, it seems to be the best the judge could order in this case. Internet communication through Skype, or for that matter, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or any of the other social networking sites out there, is not meant to be a substitute for one-on-one, face-to-face interaction between a parent and child. It is only meant to supplement the pre-existing relationship between the parent and child.
Out-of-state custodial parent relocations are also something that New Jersey family lawyers have been seeing more and more of. In a bad economy, more people are faced with the prospect of having to relocate from the state in such of better employment opportunities. The good news is that with all this communication technology, an out-of-state move these days is not necessarily a death sentence for the parent-child relationship.