The prominence of real-time, interactive video technology provides individuals the opportunity to communicate in the face of physical separation. The iPhone 4’s FaceTime application, Gmail’s g-chat phone and video application, and Skype software exemplify the realm of tools that facilitate people’s ability to maintain relationships despite the geographical distance between them. Accordingly, family law has adapted to apply such technology when rendering child custody decisions. More specifically, family law courts throughout the country have issued orders requiring “virtual visitation,” which utilizes technology such as web cameras and other Internet tools to provide regular and visual contact between a noncustodial parent and his or her child. This Comment analyzes the national trend toward virtual visitation and then specifically examines virtual visitation’s potential to impact custody rulings in California family courts. Although appellate courts throughout the country have ordered virtual visitation in relocation decisions and state legislatures have passed statutes codifying the principle, California has yet to formally recognize virtual visitation in its appellate court decisions or legislation. This Comment will illustrate that virtual visitation is a practicable solution that should be formally recognized and readily utilized in California.

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