Wisconsin Codifies “Internet Visitation”

The Wisconsin legislature passed this “internet visitation” bill into law yesterday. Allow commonly referred to as “internet visitation,” the bill essentially codifies many standard decretal provisions that allow for telephone contact between the custodial and non-custodial parent.

The following summary is from the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau: This bill provides that, if the court grants periods of physical placement to both

parents, the court may grant to a parent a reasonable amount of electronic

communication at reasonable hours during the other parent’s periods of physical

placement with the child. Electronic communication is defined as time during which

a parent and his or her child communicate by using various types of communication

tools, such as the telephone, electronic mail, instant messaging, and video

conferencing or other wired or wireless technologies via the Internet. The basis for

granting electronic communication is whether it is in the child’s best interest and

whether equipment for providing electronic communication is reasonably available

to both parents. Electronic communication may be used only to supplement, and not

as a substitute or replacement for, the physical placement that a parent has with the

child.

The bill provides that a parenting plan that a party files with the court before

a pretrial conference when legal custody or physical placement is contested must

include any electronic communication a parent is requesting and must indicate

whether equipment for providing electronic communication is reasonably available

to both parents. The bill also provides that, if a parent is proposing to move with the child and the other parent objects to the move, the court may not use the availability of electronic communication as a factor in support of a modification of physical placement or a refusal to prohibit the parent from moving with the child.”