Canadian Journal of Family Law

First Page


Document Type



Since its emergence in the 1990s, the Internet has been celebrated as a tool for connecting people from all corners of the globe. Electronic communication tools, such as the Internet, now have a significant role in daily life, particularly with young people. While the legal field traditionally lags behind in integrating technological advancements into practice, these developments are increasingly, albeit somewhat slowly, being incorporated in family law disputes. Courts are now considering the use of virtual visitation to facilitate access between noncustodial parents and their children, particularly in contested relocation cases. This paper will examine the use of virtual visitation in the context of contested relocation cases, from both a domestic and international perspective. It will be argued that courts and legislatures alike must recognize that, while virtual visitation offers many benefits, including expanding access between children and non-custodial parents, virtual access should not be used to replace physical visitation, or as a determinative factor in permitting relocation. Using examples of legislation from the United States and Australia, this paper also seeks to encourage provincial legislatures across the country to enact laws to clarify public policy with respect to the appropriate scope and use of electronic communication as a form of access between parents and children.