Pihos Advances Virtual Visitation Legislation
(Posted 2/11/2010) - State Representative Sandra Pihos is pleased to announce that courts can now assist in virtual visitations between parents and minors thanks to legislation recently signed into law.
Language added to an Illinois law as a result of Senate Bill 1590 for which Representative Pihos was the House sponsor adds virtual visitation as an option judges may provide to non-custodial parents. According to the measure, parents could be entitled to electronic visits in contentious custody battles where other visitation is not an option unless the court believes that contact would be harmful to the child.
“This a new avenue for parents to stay involved with their children’s everyday life, and we want to encourage that as long as it is in the best interest of the child,” said Representative Pihos.
As defined by the legislation, electronic communication includes telephone, texting, electronic mail, instant messaging, and other wired or wireless technologies via the Internet.
“Some parents have worked out virtual visitation arrangements on their own, but the new law creates another avenue for judges to use their discretion to maximize equal parental involvement when parents cannot otherwise agree,” said Pihos.
Grandparents, great-grandparents, and siblings of a minor child can now also petition the court for electronic communication rights. The availability of electronic communication may not be used by the court as a factor to support removal of a child by the custodial parent to another state.