By: Patricia M. Heim
In 2006, the Wisconsin Legislature passed a law that gives Family Courts the ability in custody and physical placement orders to allow one parent the right to have electronic communication with the child during the other parent’s periods of physical placement. “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. In order for the Court to grant electronic communication, it must decide that this communication is in the child’s best interests. The Court must also determine if there is equipment available to both parents for providing electronic communication. Any type of electronic communication may not be used as a substitute or replacement for physical placement. It can only be used as a supplement to physical placement.
When a parent files a Parenting Plan with the Court, the Parenting Plan must include the type of electronic communication a parent is requesting and whether that equipment is available to both parents.
Wisconsin is now one of several states that allows courts to facilitate communication between a parent and his or her child through the use of electronic communication.